Are We Morally Bound To Obey Coronavirus Restrictions / Laws?editor
The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the duty of citizens towards the authorities in civil society:
The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” “We must obey God rather than men”:
When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the Law of the Gospel. (# 2242)
The question here, therefore, is this: are the Governments of the UK overstepping their authority by requiring us to accept some very serious restrictions on our personal liberty, in the name of “saving lives” – when by all accounts, the majority of those who become infected with Covid-19 recover from it? A relative of mine believes he had the virus back in January; he was sure it was simply flu, but because it was the worst-ever flu attack he’d ever experienced, he decided to visit his doctor. He said the doctor asked him “a strange question” – had he been in China recently! The answer was “no” and that is where that conversation ended. This relative – who is very elderly, in his 80s – made a full recovery.
There is concern, therefore, that perhaps the lockdown restrictions are not only unnecessary (who quarantines the healthy?) but also too stringently enforced. The full force of the law…Really? People stopped in the street, or pulled over in their car by the police, and asked to explain why they are outside of their home, destination etc. Do we have to answer? Should we pay any fines imposed? Is this a conscience issue, or would we be doing wrong to flout the State?