by Joseph E. Capizzi & H. David Baer

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is having many unfortunate consequences: unexpected deaths, sudden unemployment, strains on healthcare systems around the globe, economic near-collapse, and, much less significantly, odd musings by theologians about the cultural significance of all of this. In a series of diary entries in First Things, Rusty Reno, for example, denounces Christian churches for adopting a “secular proposition” that prioritizes earthly life above all else. Christians, he says, have forsworn the graces of sacramental life in favor of “death’s dominion,” leading us to sacrifice “the social” out of our fear of death. As a conservative Christian critic of American liberalism, Reno has voiced these sorts of criticisms before, and reading this most recent jeremiad, one cannot help but wonder if perhaps it’s a tad overblown.

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Originally published on 31 March 2020 at Providence

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