A Chinese priest, Fr. Shanren, recounts the first week of an epidemic of acute pneumonia caused by a coronavirus. His story relates several scenes of panic caused by the medical emergency in China. He adds a supernatural consideration to it.
“On the afternoon of Chinese New Year - January 24, 2020 - I was ordered to cancel the scheduled Mass. At that time, we were not aware of the Wuhan coronavirus. When it became known, the epidemic had already spread across the country.”
“The mayor of Wuhan said that 5 million people have already left the city. As is obvious, because of the terror regarding the transmission of the virus, people are openly fearful towards citizens from Wuhan.”
“Currently, the infected people are quarantined. Unfortunately, we can see a lot of aggressive reactions via the Internet, such as those terrified patients who tear off the protective suits and the masks of the nurses, yelling at them: ‘Why are you the only ones who have protection? If we have to die, we die together!’”
Fr. Shanren continues, “then we can also see roadblocks that appear here and there on the roads …There are those who put up banners in front of the homes of the sick, others who use planks of wood to block the entrance of neighbors. For many people, Wuhan patients are no longer people; they have become synonymous with viruses.”
And the priest wonders if the disease is not also a divine punishment against the religious policy carried out by the Chinese Communist Party: “Think about it,” he writes, “a month ago, on December 24, the Chinese people were told to boycott foreign holidays, to no longer celebrate Christmas and instead to support national patriotic holidays… Then, just a month later, on January 24, the catastrophe of the epidemic occurred: we have refused the peace that God has given us for free, and now we all want peace, but the cost is very high.”
The Catholic priest concluded with gravity: “We must be afraid of God, let's pray for the Chinese! We ask for the immense mercy of God that everything will be resolved soon!” An urgent invitation to conversion.