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“My behavior has to take event of pandemic into account,” South African Prelate Cautions

Bishop Sylvester David, Auxiliary Bishop of South Africa’s Cape Town Archdiocese.

A South African Bishop has, in a video message, cautioned against laxity and the flouting of COVID-19 measures in the name of “personal freedom” and advocated for responsible behavior.

“This is not a season for doing whatever I want to do under the guise of personal freedom. Freedom is only freedom to do the right thing. My behavior has to take the event of the pandemic into account,” Bishop Sylvester David said in his video message availed Friday, September 25.

In the 5-minute video, Bishop David observes that South Africans are yet to read “the signs of the times” and embrace behaviors that are considerate to others.

“In South Africa it is illegal not to wear a mask in public spaces and yet when walking in a mall or on the promenade several people carelessly disregard the safety of others," the Auxiliary Bishop of South Africa’s Cape Town Archdiocese says.

He adds, “It is amazing how often scientific information with respect to global warming, the pandemic, etc. is ignored in favor of ideology, personal gain and the so-called personal freedom."

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"They have not read ‘the signs of the time’ or if they have read it, acknowledging it would have interrupted their personal agendas," laments the member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in his September 25 video message. 

With 667,049 cases of coronavirus including 16,283 deaths and 595,916 recoveries, South Africa has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Africa. 

The government eased most of the COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday, September 16, placing the country under Level 1 lockdown, which implies that most normal activities can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.

In his September 25 reflection titled "Time", based on the readings of the day from the Book of Ecclesiastes, Bishop David explains that it is important to understand "seasonal time or time tied to an event” as it helps in making proper decisions.

“Right now, we have a season of the COVID-19 pandemic and understanding that is helpful in that we will be able to make the proper response to the situation,” the 67-year-old South African Prelate says. 

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He adds in reference to the COVID-19 restrictive measures put in place in the country, “Imagine how difficult it will be if we did not take measures to stop the spread of the virus.”

"The first reading for today assigns a time for every activity, but nowhere does it assign a time for negligence," Bishop David says and adds, "Let each of us examine our contexts and see what the Spirit is saying to us as Church.”