CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?
“During this dismal period, governmental authority crumbled,… a Malthusian crisis followed by recurrent attacks of devastating…plague, prolonged…war, and erratic monetary manipulation, combined drastically to reduce …production and trade… the psychological price of living in a contracting world, with a horribly low expectation of life, was very high indeed.”1
If this seems painfully familiar, then it is perhaps worth continuing the quotation, for it comes from the English Historian, the late Professor Lawrence Stone, who concluded that, “the fifteenth century was an age of melancholy and morbid introspection’. So, this was not a description of the present after all!
But if those opening words seem so evocative of the present – despite governments of late having grown rather than withered—what does this tell us after two years of a global pandemic? Does this merely illustrate the old adage that Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose? Or is it that we are indeed at a hinge moment in history which truly merits that over-used word, “crisis”?
In regard to the Church, it is clear that the COVID pandemic has precipitated a deep sense of crisis. At no point was this more acute than when orders were given, not only by governments,