A Vatican cardinal has floated a COVID conspiracy theory, suggesting that the virus could be a biological weapon.
– “The great powers are organising world wars, even bacteriological ones”
Cardinal Angelo Comastri, 76, the archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and the vicar general for the Vatican City State, gave voice to the theory on ‘Stanze Vaticane’, an Italian TV program on the channel TgCom24.
“The great powers are organising world wars, even bacteriological ones; it is not excluded that COVID-19 came out of one of these laboratories” in which weapons for germ warfare are made, the cardinal warned.
Despite Comastri’s assertions, the scientific consensus is that the coronavirus is a product of natural evolution, with specialists to date having uncovered no evidence that it emerged either accidentally or purposefully from a laboratory.
The cardinal was on altogether safer ground when he affirmed, roundly, that “the pandemic did not come from God: God is not a punisher but a saviour”.
“God does not punish, God saves”, Comastri insisted, recalling that according to the Church and the Gospel of Jesus himself, it is God who gives us freedom to do good, “but if we don’t do it, it is we who do ourselves harm and it is not Christ who ruins our lives”.
In the face of the drama of the pandemic, God is there waiting for us on the Cross “to renew His cry of love: He taught us love but it is we who close our eyes and ears to this message”, the cardinal further explained.
– The essence of the gospel: “Love wins, hate always loses”
For the most part in his TV interview, Comastri struck to the consolations of theology in the times of COVID-19.
He picked up, for example, on the Pope’s message in the Angelus July 19 on the parable of the wheat and the tares, saying that “God is in no hurry to remove the tares; God works to transform the tares into grain: the example of the thief on the cross, at the last moment he becomes grain, like St. Paul, St. Augustine…”.
God waits for even the most sinful man to be able to “transform him”, the cardinal explained, adding that “we must wait to be able to change our hearts and ask God for forgiveness”, he explained.
Likewise, Comastri affirmed that Jesus himself who showed the world ‘the eyes of God’ – the title of the cardinal’s new book – with the Saviour entering history to justify humanity but through love and without rancour.
“That’s what the story of Maximilian Kolbe, Catholic priest martyr in the Auschwitz camp, tells us. Love wins, hate always loses”, the cardinal emphasised.
Comastri also had a word of interpretation of Pope Francis’ constant concern for the poor, and reminded viewers that “before God we are all poor; wealth is not material well-being, as we can see in the societies of Northern Europe where well-being reigns but one is unhappy”.
“When God is lacking, society is unhappy, and we must insist on this when we speak of the ‘poor'”, the cardinal highlighted.
– On Hagia Sophia: “No mosque has been transformed into a Catholic Church and no Catholic has ever shot an Imam”
But Comastri waded back into the waters of controversy with a final comment on the fate of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the sixth-century Byzantine basilica turned into a mosque in 1453 after the Fall of Constantinople turned into a secular state museum in 1935 and last July 10 turned into a mosque again.
“No mosque has been transformed into a Catholic Church and no Catholic has ever shot an Imam”, the cardinal responded to the Hagia Sophia mosque reconversion.
“They even shot the Pope himself, on 13 May 1981 in St. Peter’s Square”, the cardinal recalled, in what appeared to be a Turkophobic slight referring to would-be papal assassin and Turkish citizen Mehmet Ali Agca.
Between Turkey and the rest of the world, and between Christians and Muslims, “if we want dialogue, it must be done with honest and loyal weapons, with sincerity in looking into each other’s eyes and responding with facts”, Comastri concluded.