Headlining the news this week is what is reported to be a new coronavirus, originating in China. Officials in that country are doing everything they can to contain its spread. Other countries are monitoring things very closely, in the hopes of early detection and the limiting of the contagion. Since this particular coronavirus is newly identified, there is as yet no vaccine developed to protect against it. We pray, of course, for the souls of the many people to whose death this virus may have contributed, as well as for the healing of anyone who has contracted it. May the vaccine and antidote be discovered very soon.

There are many viruses with which we need to contend. Among the most serious are those that enter not our bloodstream but our mindset. These have a detrimental effect on our psyches and our souls. For these there is both inoculation and remedy, yet, strangely, we are very slow to avail ourselves of it.

In our day we encounter an abundance of viruses that worm their way into our minds and influence our behaviour. As the annual March for Life in Washington DC took place on Friday, we were reminded that the lethal falsehood claiming that the child in the womb is not a human being has so infected the minds of people that the death by abortion of millions of unborn children registers not as an unspeakable outrage but a societal “good.” Where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal and expanding, we can detect the influence of the patently false notion of radical autonomy. One can point as well to the multiple “isms” that pollute the air and corrode our ability fully to honour the dignity of every human person: racism, materialism, individualism and so on.

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