Everything Pierre Manent writes is worth reading, but not enough of it is translated into English. Today, however, The Public Discourse has published a translation of a recent Manent essay from La Nef, on the Church’s meek acceptance of closures during the pandemic, and how religion is not a mere club of opinion.
Catholics, like the French as a whole, have been surprised, stunned, and bewildered by the pandemic and the confinement that responded to it. Like most of the French, they obeyed the new health regulations, out of both fear of the virus and obedience to legitimate government. They accepted being deprived of the sacraments without a word, including during Holy Week. In the days that followed, at the same time that routine set in, this exceptional state seemed less and less acceptable. The pain of being deprived of the life of the Church was compounded by the unpleasant feeling that public institutions were perfectly indifferent to the religious needs of citizens — that at no moment of making a decision had the government given a minute of reflection, an ounce of consideration, to this essential part of common life.
Read the whole thing.