A member of the Vatican COVID-19 commission has said he sees the pandemic as the moment for “systemic and radical change” in the world.

– “Time for more action and less discussion”

“It’s time for more action and less discussion; it’s time to start this decade of radical and systemic change for the good of humanity and the generations that follow us”, Father Augusto Zampini, an adjunct secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, told Religión Digital May 4.

The Argentinian priest, theologian and international law and development expert – who’s heading up the Vatican’s response to the ecological and economic dimensions of the ‘day after’ the virus spread subsides – said that in Rome “we’re working around the clock in the study and preparation of concrete proposals to help mitigate the most urgent consequences of the pandemic and to shape the post-COVID future that begins now and will be conditioned by the decisions we make today”.

“We want to help all decision makers so that together we can build a healthier world, with healthy people, healthy institutions and a healthy planet”, Zampini summed up the Vatican commission’s work.

– “The pandemic is terrible, but it brings with it an opportunity”

Zampini went on to say that the Vatican’s calling at the present, with respect to COVID-19, is to help the world “overcome this multiplicity of crises – health, economic-social and political-cultural – with our faith and the best of our tradition, but together with science, social movements and public bodies throughout the world”.

“The pandemic is terrible, but it brings with it an opportunity to build a more inclusive, peaceful and sustainable society”, the priest explained.

He added that this particular working group within the coronavirus commission – on the future after COVID-19 – is also working on the long-term, deep-seated “systemic” problems of the world economy, such as inequality, decision-making “based on financial valuations far from social values” and the tendency “to encourage growth that is irresponsibly damaging to the environment, mortgaging the future of us all”.

“The recovery from the pandemic must include the generation of employment, of course, but it’s time that we generate employment that is ‘generative’ of life, of a life with dignity for those who work, of a healthy life for the rest of us and for creation”, the priest declared.

– “New wine in new wineskins”

On a geopolitical level, Zampini said that “undoubtedly” the pandemic “will change the world order and system”.

But the Church’s task, he added, is to try to make the system “better”.

“Before the outbreak of the crisis, a complex world scenario was already evident, [one that was] contrary to multilateralism and favorable to nationalisms [and] more walls and fewer bridges; the risk is that these [walls] become more pronounced”, he alerted.

Not only that, but the pandemic has also laid bare “the inherent weaknesses and inequalities in our social and economic structures”, a fact “which increases our urgency to eradicate them”, Zampini said.

The point from which politics, society and the economy must be rebuilt out of this “all-encompassing crisis” – “all-encompassing” because consisting not just of a health but also “economic, ecological, food security, cybersecurity and political” dimensions – must be none other than that of the “integral ecology” proposed by Pope Francis time and again throughout his pontificate, according to the priest.

“There’s hope. People are realising that we can live simply, and that radical changes are possible – so much so that entire countries have closed”, the Vatican official recalled.

“We’re also understanding that our destiny depends on the health of the global ecosystem”, he continued.

“A healthy global family requires a healthy planet. And healthy people on a healthy planet can design or shape healthy institutions.

“For new problems, new solutions: new wine in new wineskins, says the Bible”.

More on Novena on the Vatican COVID-19 commission:

Vatican official Zampini: COVID-19 “not God’s punishment, but our own self-punishment”

On COVID-19 rescue, Vatican Fr. Zampini tells governments “don’t repeat the mistakes” of 2008 GFC bailouts

Cardinal Turkson: Vatican mobilising Church’s “whole network of charity and solidarity” to tackle COVID-19


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