A Better Post-Pandemic World
“A virus that does not recognize barriers, borders, or culture or political distinctions must be faced with love without barriers, borders, or distinctions.” Pope Francis said at last week’s audience. Since August, Pope Francis has made a Christian response for the transformation of the world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the topic of his Wednesday Papal Audience catechesis. Pope Francis believes that good can come from the pandemic if we work together to heal the social ills the pandemic has revealed and to build a better world for future generations. On September 9, he focused on the topic of the Common Good. Francis said we must confront a sickness that respects no boundaries with a unified effort on the part of all humankind.
In his remarks, Francis said, “The promotion of the common good is a duty of justice that falls on each citizen. And for Christians, it is also a mission.” What is shared and beneficial to all or most of the members of the community is considered the common good. It is the good achieved through the collective action and participation in the realm of politics and public service by people of goodwill.
In his talk, Francis said that there are instances of partisan interests trying to influence the development and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine. They are prompted by egotistical and divisive attitudes that are exacerbating conflict. The response to the pandemic must be based on love; above all, the love of God, Francis said. He reminded listeners that love must not only be for those who love us or are close to us but also for those who are strangers or even those who do not love us. Francis lamented the growth of partisanship in political life. He said love must include our civil and political relationships.
Francis said while the first inclination will be to distribute a vaccine to the citizens of the country that develops it, he cautioned that wealth and influence shouldn’t be the factors that determine who receives the vaccine. The distribution of a vaccine to control the virus he said must use a process with no imprint of any egoism if it is to minimize the human and social crisis the virus has brought to light.
Francis implores us to improve our social love. He said that the common good needs everyone to contribute their part and leave no one out. If all humankind is willing to work towards the goal, if they leave no one out, we can regenerate good relationships of love with each other and even the environment. With God’s help, we can heal the world if we are willing to work together for the common good.
At his audience, he also acknowledged September 9, had been declared by the United Nations as the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack. While we might believe the focus of the day was on the violence and terrorism experienced by countries experiencing war and serious internal conflict, our own country has a severe problem of school shootings. In 2019 there were 51 incidents of gun violence on school or college campuses in the United States. They resulted in 17 deaths and 76 injuries. Pray for the passage of laws that will end such violence and for the safety of our students this school year.