In this period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown and the quest to keep body and soul together by staying home, It is only natural if we unconsciously get carried away by the numerous things we read on the internet. Lately we are literally being bombarded with forwarded WhatsApp messages that it is difficult sometimes to sift the wheat from the chaff. We are sent stories about conspiracy theories concerning the 5G network, the 666 computer chip which, some allege, will be inserted into our hands in the guise of a vaccine to prevent coronavirus.
Some people have even questioned if COVID-19 truly exists. Hmm! I am not a doctor so the following should be robustly and indiscriminately argued. Prove me wrong, but disregard at your peril. In 1918, the Spanish flu was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. It lasted for two years, infected over five million people worldwide and killed about fifty thousand. To date, a cure has not been discovered. Without a vaccine, nor an approved treatment plan, most health officials treated patients by trial-and-error. It was a devastating time! Over the years, other pandemics have occurred, all related to flu like symptoms, pneumonia, bronchitis and all affecting the upper respiratory system. Still, there have been no vaccines for them. Even the simple flu, cough and catarrh have no cure, nor vaccine.
The best treatment, we are told, is to build your immunity, adopt hygienic practices and keep yourself disease free. Nothing else has worked. Now, we have the internet. With it, the world has become a global village. Something happening in Australia can immediately be transmitted live in and watched in our android phones. Information is life. Imagine how our great grandparents and grandparents felt, not knowing what was happening in the world and getting third hand information months after things occur. And yet we don’t use the internet wisely. The first attempt at introducing the internet in Nigeria was in 1995, through the sponsorship efforts of the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. The National Communications Commission in 1996 licensed 38 internet service providers. It wasn’t until January 1st, 1997 that commercial operations began. Since then, Nigerians are still struggling to understand it’s scope, it’s reach and its power.
With the pandemic, and everyone being forced to stay at home, its growth in Nigeria has become phenomenal. But the internet is not infallible. We need to understand that Google is not always your friend and Wikipedia can be manipulated. The internet, though a good source of reference, is full of inconsistencies. This brings me to our Catholic faith. Our Church is so rich and full of history that the internet, no matter how manipulative, cannot distort it. Rather, the internet gives us a robust look, and view of the One True, Universal and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ, from the time of St Peter through to the present Pope. Lots of stories and videos concerning our Mother’s apparitions abound on the net. We can spend our time and resources going through them.
They are always inspiring. It is wrong for us to believe and continue forwarding unproven theories, conspiracies and doomsday predictions gotten from Pentecostal manmade Churches who have been caught in too many lies. With the internet at our fingertips, all it takes is for one or two buttons to be pushed. Search YouTube and other genuine Catholic sites and you will find prayers and inspiring stories to keep us busy. We can also share them with others. We need to be so rooted in our faith so much that cooked-up theories will not have adverse effects on us.
There will be more epidemics and plagues just as there will be quarrels and wars. Human beings are territorial; we will always step on each other’s toes. We need to consistently pray against all these. Dear Mothers, question everything you read before you press that forward button. Above all, hold strongly to your faith and remember that Our Mother of Perpetual Help is a very present help in this time of need. Through Mary our Mother, may we succeed and stay alive through this pandemic. Amen.
Gloria Young is the PRO of CWONLA.