The Church of England needs to speak with more than a whisper during this COVID-19 crisis.
Facemasks, social distancing, curfews, imprisoned students, rules of six/eight, hand-washing until they are sore, add more to your own list. The Coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold seemingly without end.
Businesses fail, unemployment rises, and financial crisis looms. The political trumpet in response sounds an uncertain and confusing note. Clear and coherent political leadership seems far off with a disjointed relationship to medical and scientific advice. Add to this potent mix claims of ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories and there is a perfect storm.
In the meantime hopes for a vaccine remain high but unfulfilled. Whilst young people contemplate an uncertain future, the elderly have the prospect of endless solitary confinement, imprisoned by an invisible microscopic warder, even university has become prison-like. Likewise working from home remains a mixed blessing and city centres shrivel and wilt as they empty of life. In the U.K. the various nation governments have done superb job in frightening people and encouraging ‘snitching’ on neighbours and a general breakdown in trust. One suspects this is to reinforce their own autocratic purposes as rule by diktat relaces parliamentary scrutiny.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury, seemingly off the radar for a while, has emerged with two important statements.
On 16th September 2020 the Archbishop of Canterbury called on ministers to stop controlling people’s freedoms from Westminster, saying instead they should “only do centrally what must be done centrally”. Writing in the British broadsheet the Daily Telegraph (a newspaper usually associated with the right wing and Conservative Party) with the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally he condemns an addiction to centralisation and suggests instead “localism”. “When it comes to Covid-19,” he writes, “the importance of local networks and communities becomes even greater.”