In a joint document released Thursday, the Vatican and the World Council of Churches urged humanity to embrace a philosophy of “daring and caring” to heal the post-COVID-19 world.
– “A call to new forms of solidarity” to combat “inequality, exclusivism, discrimination and domination”
“The heightened awareness of our shared vulnerability” post-coronavirus “is a call to new forms of solidarity reaching across all boundaries”, the Vatican Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) and World Council of Churches (WCC) alerted in the document published August 27, “Serving a Wounded World in Interreligious Solidarity: A Christian Call to Reflection and Action During COVID-19 and Beyond”.
“Alongside the millions who have been infected physically, many more have been affected psychologically, economically, politically and religiously”, the PCID and WCC lamented.
The Christian bodies deplored that the coronavirus has led to a global recession, an increase in world hunger, a rise in domestic violence, the exacerbation of the “scandalous gap between the rich and the poor”, along with a worsening of the world’s “systems of inequality, exclusivism, discrimination and domination” that punish not only Creation but also the elderly, the differently-abled, racial minorities, migrants, refugees and prisoners.
– “Our fundamental connectedness matters many times more than perceived divisions”
At the heart of the joint PCID-WCC document was the recognition that “today, there is a global interconnectedness that urges us to assume planetary responsibility based on common religious and ethical values to serve and heal the post-COVID-19 world”.
“We are called to reengage with the world, particularly in response to the grievous woundedness in ourselves, our families, our cities and nations, and in the whole of creation”, the PCID and WCC implored.
Insisting that all humans “are sisters and brothers, connected by love, and by our equal dignity that does not have to be earned” – and that “our fundamental connectedness and our shared origin matter many times more than perceived divisions constructed by humans” – the PCID and WCC proposed a series of principles to guide Christians and “all people of faith and goodwill” in “the work of serving each other in a wounded world”.
Those principles included “humility and vulnerability”, “respect”, “community, compassion, and the common good”, “dialogue and mutual learning”, “repentance and renewal”, “gratitude and generosity” and – simply and poignantly – “love”.
The PCID and WCC then translated those common spiritual and ethical values into a series of concrete recommendations by which Christians and others may best “serve our neighbours and… serve alongside them” in the task of the post-COVID-19 reconstruction.
Those recommendations included to “find ways of bearing witness to suffering”, to “promote a culture of inclusivism which celebrates difference as God’s gift”, to “nurture solidarity through spirituality”, to “widen the formation of clergy” and other religious leaders “to foster empathy”, to “engage and support young people, whose idealism and energy can be an antidote to the temptation of cynicism”, to “create space for dialogues… that are embracing and inclusive” and to “restructure projects and processes for interreligious solidarity”.
“As we open ourselves to serving a world wounded by COVID-19 through ecumenical and interreligious solidarity, may we derive strength from the example of the one we follow, Jesus the Christ… [who] came not to be served but to serve”, the PCID and WCC concluded.
“Imitating the love and generosity of the Good Samaritan let us seek to sup-port the weak and vulnerable, console the afflicted, relieve pain and suffering and ensure the dignity of all”.