Pope Francis has taken aim at those profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic and those criticising public health restrictions, lamenting that they “think only about themselves”.
– A reminder to lockdown faultfinders: “Not everyone has the same abilities and resources” to face COVID-19
The pontiff’s latest thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis appeared this Sunday in an interview published in Serbia’s Politika newspaper.
In that conversation, Francis deplored that during the time of coronavirus “we have an increase in numbers of those who mercilessly profited from the misfortune of others, those who think only about themselves, who protested or complained about certain restrictive measures, unable to accept that not everyone has the same abilities and resources to face the pandemic”.
The Pope contrasted that selfish attitude with regard to the public health, social and economic tragedy with the mindset of those he called “urban heroes”, those”who take responsibility toward others and look for a concrete solution so no one is left behind”.
Francis also encouraged people to patience and solidarity, explaining that although crises can exacerbate injustices they can also bring out changes for the best in individuals and societies.
On the subject of the lessons the world must learn from the coronavirus experience, the Pope repeated with Politika a thought he has often turned to over these long pandemic months: “We don’t come out of the crisis the same, we can become better or worse, but never the same”.
Francis also said he was concerned that countries and economies are too eager to return to ‘business as usual’ post-pandemic.
“We need change. The pandemic brought our organisational and developmental models into a crisis; it exposed many injustices, the troubling silence and social and health failures, subjecting a great number of our brothers to the processes of social exclusion and degradation”, the pontiff stressed.
“We have reduced development to mere economic growth, forgetting that authentic development must foster the development of each man and of the whole man (cf. Populorum Progressio, 14). The progress of all the people and for all the people. We cannot lose sight of the fact that transformations always have a cost and we must ask ourselves who is paying for it”.
– “Faithful will be truer believers and more authentic” after pandemic
The Pope’s interview with Politika Sunday was the second conversation with the Pope to appear in a week, after Friday’s dialogue with Italian outlet AdnKronos.
In that last interview, Francis also addressed the coronavirus crisis, and acknowledged: “They are days of great uncertainty, I pray a lot, I am so, so, so close to those that are suffering; I am in prayer with those helping people that are suffering for reasons of health but not only those”.
The pontiff also spoke to the dramatic drop in people attending church during these times of pandemic whether out of restrictions, fear or disinterest. Francis explained:
“I learned of a bishop who claimed that ‘people’ had lost the ‘habit’ of going to church during the current pandemic and will no longer go to kneel before a crucifix or to receive Holy Communion.
“I say if these ‘people’ only went to Church out of ‘habit’ it would be better if they stayed at home”.
“People are called by the Holy Spirit. Maybe after this tough test, with these new difficulties and the suffering that enters people’s homes, the faithful will be truer believers and more authentic. Believe me, it will be so”, the Pope insisted.