Pope Francis addressed a world severely tested by the coronavirus, saying this is not a time for indifference because everyone is suffering and must be united. In his Easter message, he said that for many this is a time of worry about an uncertain future, about jobs that are at risk and about other consequences of the current crisis.
Pope Francis said, “Indifference, self-centeredness, division and forgetfulness are not words we want to hear at this time. We want to ban these words forever!”
Delivering his Easter Urbi et Orbi message to the city and to the world in an empty Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Gates of Confession, the pope’s words this Easter resounded more strongly than ever. He said the world is “now oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family.”
After celebrating Easter Mass with a very limited number of attendants and without the faithful in Saint Peter’s Basilica, in his message the pope’s first thoughts went to the many who have been directly affected by the coronavirus.
The sick, the pope said, those who have died and family members who mourn the loss of their loved ones, to whom, in some cases, they were unable even to bid a final farewell.
The 83-year-old pope said this is an Easter of solitude lived amid the sorrow and hardship that the pandemic is causing, from physical suffering to economic difficulties. This disease, he added, has not only deprived people of human closeness, but also of the possibility of receiving consolation from the sacraments in person.
Francis expressed gratitude and affection toward the doctors and nurses who work to exhaustion and not infrequently at the expense of their own health.
In these weeks, Francis said, the lives of millions of people have suddenly changed. For many, he said, remaining at home has been an opportunity to reflect, to withdraw from the frenetic pace of life, stay with loved ones and enjoy their company. However, for many, he continued, this is also a time of worry about an uncertain future, about jobs at risk and about other consequences of the current crisis.
This is not a time for indifference, the pope said, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic. He encouraged political leaders to work for the common good and to provide the means and resources needed for everyone to lead a dignified life.
In light of the present circumstances, the pope called for international sanctions to be relaxed, since they make it difficult for targeted countries to provide adequate support to their citizens.
Saying this is not a time for self-centeredness, the pope offered special thoughts for Europe. After World War II, he said, Europe could rise again, thanks to a concrete spirit of solidarity that enabled it to overcome the rivalries of the past.
The European Union is facing an epochal challenge, he said, on which not only its future, but that of the whole world, will depend. The pope said it is more urgent than ever now that these rivalries do not regain force, but that all recognize themselves as part of a single family and support each other.