Pope’s “hope in humanity” amid coronavirus

Pope Francis said he has “hope in humanity” during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In an interview for a television programme this week, Francis was asked if he was “optimistic” in face of the pandemic.

He replied, “that’s a word I don’t like, because optimism to me, I’m not saying it is, to me sounds like makeup,”- putting a good face on things.

“I have hope. I have hope in humanity, I have hope in men and women” [who] “are going to take lessons from this crisis to re-evaluate their lives.”

“We’re going to come out better. Fewer of us, of course, many are still sick and it’s hard. But I have faith, we’re going to come out better.”

Speaking of people who lose loved ones to COVID-19, Francis said “the last thing I would do is to tell them something. What I try to do is make them feel my closeness.”

“Today the language of gestures is more important that words,” he said.

Francis also spoke of his concern for people living on the margins of society out of view.

“A drama is coming to light, I don’t know if it’s underneath the surface but hidden from our societies.”

‘Sometimes they’re hypocritical societies, sometime they are societies that are unaware who aren’t aware of this hidden world … we’re starting to get closer to those people that we just know as a concept.

“This brings us closer to these people who in some way have very little hope, who have nowhere to go for support,” he said.

Healthcare professionals have Francis’s particular admiration because “they are teaching me how to be committed” and “I am grateful for their witness.”

“Doctors, nurses, volunteers who have to sleep on stretchers because there are no more beds in the hospitals and they can’t go home.”

“I like to use a word that fits well: the ‘saints next door’.”

Francis pointed out that although many healthcare professionals “aren’t believers, many are agnostics or they lead a life of faith in their own way, but in their witness you see this ability to give their all for others. Some of them have died.”

He also paid tribute to people working in supermarkets and the police.

“They’re the ones keeping society functioning, so that the essentials aren’t lacking. And they tell me that here in Rome they’re doing a great job, a really great job.”

One of his concerns though is that “we all sin in some way by underrating the problem” of the coronavirus.

With a crisis like this, “nature’s giving us a jolt to take charge of taking care of nature.”

“There’s a saying that you surely know: God always forgives, we forgive now and then, nature never forgives, fires, floods, earthquakes,” he said.


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