Healing A Post Pandemic World
Pope Francis continued his series of Wednesday General Audience talks on the need for healing a post-pandemic world. Over the last few weeks, Francis has highlighted various areas of human life where the pandemic has shown weakness. They are part of our culture in need of transformation if a post-pandemic world is to heal. Francis started his series of catechesis by pointing out the need for greater respect for human dignity. He subsequently addressed the topics of a preferential option for the poor and the need to address the economy with concern for the environment. In his September 2 instruction, he examined the topic of solidarity and the virtue of faith.
The September 2 audience was the first to be held outdoors since the pandemic set in six months ago. Audiences had been live-streamed from the Vatican Library during that time. This audience took place in the Saint Damaso courtyard of the apostolic palace, with about 500 pilgrims and the press corps in attendance. Audiences have not yet returned to St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis announced his pleasure at being able to conduct the audience with even a portion of the public present. The press reported the Pope seemed energized by the opportunity to welcome pilgrims.
Francis stated that the pandemic had highlighted the interdependence of all the world. Not a corner of our world has escaped the coronavirus. The pandemic has shown the interdependence of humanity and the need for everyone to work together in solidarity. Francis said as humans; we have a common origin in God and a common home, the earth where God has placed us. Francis said that when we lose our sense of interconnectedness, inequality and marginalization increase.
Francis reiterated that solidarity is more than a few sporadic acts of generosity. It is the creation of “a new mindset which thinks in terms of community. It focuses on the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few. He said solidarity isn’t only helping others but a matter of justice.
Francis used the image of the Tower of Babel from the Book of Genesis to illustrate how, when humanity tries to reach for heaven while neglecting relationships between humans, it destroys the community. He referred back to a reading from the Acts of the Apostles proclaimed at the beginning of the audience. The passage described the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He said the Spirit came to bring about unity in diversity and solidarity. Francis noted that diversity ensures the community is imbued with “antibodies” which remind it that each person is unique, and protects it from the danger of individualism and selfishness.
Pope Francis encouraged the world to let solidarity, guided by faith, motivate us to transform the post-pandemic world and promote the healthy growth of our society. His encouragement to grow in solidarity in these days is especially on target in our country. We find ourselves struggling with partisanship and division. The pandemic has brought to light just how fractious and alienated, so many are in our country. As the 2020 Election draws near, we need to determine where candidates stand with regards to efforts to unite all the diverse groups in our country. How do they plan to promote the goal of helping our nation become united in solidarity to mend our faults and promote our virtues?