The Spanish bishops have expressed their “profound sorrow” over the “unjust abandonment” of thousands of elderly people during the COVID-19 pandemic “for the mere fact of their age, the growth of social and educational inequalities, as well as some irresponsible practices of people and institutions that make a conversion to care even more urgent”.

The prelates therefore urged the need for a “spirituality to nurture a passion for caring for the world”.

During COVID-19 and beyond, “the care professions have witnessed to the greatness of humanity, families have known how to accompany even at a distance, social organisations have responded promptly and creatively to the social impact of the pandemic and the Church, drawing on her profound humility, has shown herself to be an ‘expert in humanity’ in complex moments”, stated a message from the Spanish Bishops’ Commission for Societal Pastoral Care and Human Advancement on the occasion of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, which was celebrated this September 1.

World submerged in a deep “care crisis”

In an echo of Pope Francis in his March 27 Urbi et orbi blessing of the world during the worst weeks of the pandemic, the Spanish Bishops added that the coronavirus crisis “has been a real storm” – a tempest which has uncovered our vulnerability and exposed our “false and superfluous certainties”, for which reason we are now living times “of deep suffering, uncertainty and perplexity that heighten the urgency of caring for the fragile”.

According to the Spanish prelates, the global virus crisis has impacted on a world plunged into a deep “care crisis”, which has its manifestations in the neglect of the “oppressed and devastated earth”, in the neglect of brothers and sisters suffering the “throwaway culture” and in the neglect of the interior life related to “the care of ecology and the common good”.

A warning against “indifferent selfishness that forgets about our neighbours”

For all of these reasons, in their message the bishops linked care for one’s own life and relations with nature to fraternity, justice and fidelity to others.

“Caring for life is a gospel imperative, but this care cannot become an indifferent selfishness that forgets about our neighbours”, the prelates warned.

The Spanish Bishops’ Commission insisted that a culture of care must be at the centre of politics, economics, ethics, the family, and pastoral care as they highlighted that ecological conversion is becoming “pressing” these days and put emphasis on the need to combat climate change, the loss of biodiversity and pollution.

“Ecology also means taking care of the cultural riches of humanity in order to promote a new lifestyle”, the prelates stressed, without forgetting to mention that in these months of the COVID-19 crisis it has been possible to glimpse “the human potential for caring for our brothers and sisters”.

(With reporting by Europa Press)

More on Novena on the Church’s concern for the elderly during COVID-19:

“Social distancing doesn’t mean abandonment”: Vatican launches #Sendyourhug campaign to help elderly through COVID-19

Pope surprises Roman parish priest with special request: “Care for the elderly, don’t leave them alone”

On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Pope cautions: “When the elderly are not cared for, there is no future for the young”

“The generation that built Europe cannot be left to die”: Sant’Egidio launches urgent appeal for elderly in COVID-19


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Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.