“Ask a Priest: Should I Support Those Violating COVID Rules?”

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Q: The lockdown rules here in the UK have become quite strict. I and many others think they are over the top. That being said, there is a man I know who has lost his driving job because he refused to wear a face mask. There is also a men’s gymnasium that refused to close when ordered to and is now suffering heavy fines for staying open. Both are asking for financial help, which I would like to give, but I am worried if I do, it might be sinful, as if I might be aiding and abetting civil disobedience. Where do I stand spiritually, Father? – A.A.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The lockdowns during the pandemic have triggered a lot of debate, no doubt.

People come down on the pro and cons sides of the argument, making their case on various economic and/or medical grounds and often citing various data to bolster their case. Other factors, including the psychological and educational fallout of long-term semi-isolation, also enter the debate. These issues can’t be settled here, of course.

As to your particular case: If you want to help these people in order to keep the driver and the gym afloat financially, that is one thing.

If you want to help them so that they can continue to violate health rules, that is another issue. Here, you could be abetting the disregard of civil authority and indirectly helping to rekindle the pandemic.

The driver and the gym presumably knew the rules and chose to violate them – and thus they freely decided to risk the fines.

While the need for strict lockdowns is debatable, there are times when it helps the common good if we follow rules set down by legitimate authority even if we disagree with the rules.

In this sense, you might ask whether helping these parties financially would only encourage them to repeat their behavior. Which, of course, could aggravate the health crisis and encourage others to disregard the rules. All things considered, this might make a difficult situation even more problematic.

As an alternative you might think about donating to charities that have been overwhelmed by the pandemic, such as soup kitchens which cater to the poor and unemployed.

It might be good to take some of this to prayer. I hope that some of this helps … and that you stay safe.

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4 Comments
  1. Hi, I live in the United Kingdom. The rules are actually not strict enough, if we had off had a proper lockdown like in New Zealand we would have a country that is relatively covid-free. Have you seen our latest figures? People are suffering terribly. My mum lives near the main road and she said there is an ambulance going past every 5 minutes to take those with covid to the hospital.
    Even young people are getting covid and having long long health affects afterwards.
    No I would say no to giving those money who have broken the rules, for example the man wanting to run a gym when he was told not too. That gym could have meant someone with covid passes it on to someone else and that someone goes home and their beloved mother gets it and dies.

    If you wish to give to charity give to those who are grieving or cannot afford to feed their children or need to pay for their beloved ones funerale.

    These people who have broken the rules are usually greedy and want to keep money for themselves without any thought to precious lives.

    The best thing you can do for the gym owner and taxi driver is pray for them to be given good hearts.

    There was a restaurant up here in Glasgow and during lockdown they made pizzas to give for free they delivered them (so they did not break the rules ) all for free to the hospital workers and to the poor and elderly and to those suffering with covid (they would leave the pizza at their doors ) . They were feeding the needy the poor and those in situations were they could not get any food. They did the right thing.

    The taxi driver who did not keep a mask on could have gotten covid and could have given it to someone else who could have died with it! The gym owner was selfish and did not do what Jesus or God would have wanted.

    The man who owned the restaurant was loving and caring and did the right thing and he still stuck to the rules.

    I know that everyone is tired of covid but when we start rejecting the rules out of being fed up. More of our precious brothers and sisters will die or get ill. Children do die from this virus too, healthy people have died too. Here are some of them who died in pain and terror with the covid disease: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-52441285

    My cousins are in their 20’s and both of them are girls who are doctors they are having to deal with people every day dying with covid. trying to save lives! But what if more doctors die of covid because people are not being careful and breaking the rules so it gets passed on to the doctors and they get ill. Who is going to look after you if you get ill or your family get ill.

    We need to come together in love for one another with respect during these times.

  2. I would suggest that you donate to those suffering, some of our local churches know of good charities that are helping people such as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul who will help local people in great need during this time. You can email your church or google for your local charity.

    I know that you might be suffering great anxiety at the moment with this all happening. Please stick to the rules, stay safe and try if you can to make your home into a nice place for you. I know not many people have nice homes, but is there somewhere you can relax and rest? You can given people support who are upset online, there is so much help you could give for people. And praying helps a lot too. Ask God to guide you.

    If you can and want to what about doing some study or reading a book. Read the Bible too. And try to have some time away from thinking about Covid so you have some time to get rid of the stress.

    Praying is such a wonderful thing to do , pray that covid goes away pray for those that are ill. Pray for the world and your loved one.

    I hope my answer helps too.
    Please stay safe and I will pray for you too.

  3. Just one more thing. remember That the gym owner will get financial help from the government and so will the taxi driver and if either of them do go onto loose their business there is Universal Credits I know it is not much but it helps. There will be lots of other people who went by the rules in order to do their part to save lives but sadly some may have went out of business or lost their jobs too, but at least they did the right thing in helping save lives.

    I hope that the gym owner and the taxi driver see what wrong they have done and hope that they learn from it and do the right thing.

    The restaurant in Glasgow used up lots of their money to help the poor, suffering, homeless, elderly etc they made all their pizzas fresh to deliver them and they ended up getting volunteers helping as people saw how kind they were being and wanted to help out. Other companies saw their kindness too and they donated flour and other food so that the restaurant could continue to help people. People from all over Glasgow came together to help and none of them made a penny from it. In fact the restaurant and those companies donating food stuffs will have lost a lot of money by doing what they did. But still out of love and kindness they carried on helping people, I believe that they are still helping to this very day.

  4. oh just another idea, you could help with food at food banks by donating the food they need for example.
    You sound like a very caring and kind person who wants to help people but the taxi driver and gym owner would be best helped with prayers.
    Kind regards
    Sarah

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