Works of Mercy During a Time of Social Distancing

Works of Mercy During a Time of Social Distancing March 26, 2020

I tried to say something useful for the Catholic Herald:

The corporal works of mercy – feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and so on – are insistently physical. It’s right there in the name! How can we perform corporal works of mercy when we’re all supposed to stand six feet away from each other?

Some of the modifications needed to perform works of mercy are fairly simple, albeit sad: ‘‘visiting’’ the sick by phone or computer, or handing out to-go meals to hungry people instead of hosting them for a communal meal. Some are both physical and urgent: the Red Cross has announced a ‘‘severe blood shortage’’ and needs people who can donate blood. But as restrictions on travel and gatherings tighten, we may also need to organise our mercy by different principles.

One of these principles is: serve through networks that we never expected to be communities of charity.

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