Pope Francis: work for the common good during pandemic

Working together for the common good during the pandemic is crucial or we’ll emerge worse off, Pope Francis told the crowd at his general audience last Wednesday.

Focusing his talk on the common good, which is a central theme in the Church’s social teaching, he said:

“A virus that does not recognize barriers, borders or cultural or political distinctions must be faced with a love without barriers, borders or distinctions.”

The pope’s talk is one of a series he has been giving and is based on the Gospel and the church’s social doctrine. The talks aim to help the human family emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, heal social ills and build a better world for future generations.

During his first general audience in six months, Francis removed his face mask, chatted to and touched members of the 500-strong crowd.

“The Christian response to the pandemic and to the consequent socio-economic crisis is based on love,” Francis said.

With God’s help “we can heal the world,” if we all strive alongside each other “for the common good.”

“Thus, through our gestures, even the most humble ones, something of the image of God that we bear with us will be made visible, because God is the Trinity of Love.”

Those who seek to selfishly take advantage of the situation for “partisan interests” must be guarded against, he added.

“For example, some would like to appropriate possible solutions for themselves, as in the case of vaccines. Some are taking advantage of the situation to instigate divisions: by seeking economic or political advantages, generating or exacerbating conflicts.”

Some people, he said, care not for “the suffering of others; they pass by and go their own way,” as the story of the Good Samaritan tells us.

He described them as “devotees of Pontius Pilate, who wash their hands of others’ sufferings” and take no responsibility for the common good.

Francis told the crowd at the Vatican that there is a much larger global audience following on the livestream.

He explained the global audience sees “the Christian response to the pandemic and to the consequent socioeconomic crisis is based on love, above all, love of God who always precedes us” and “loves us unconditionally.”

“When we welcome this divine love, then we can respond similarly.”

Francis said loving everyone, including enemies is difficult.

“I would say it is even an art! But an art that can be learned and improved.”

We need to build a civilisation of love, Francis said.

Otherwise, we get “wars, divisions, envy, even wars in families.”

“The common good requires everyone’s participation. If everyone contributes his or her part, and if no one is left out, we can regenerate good relationships on the communitarian, national and international level and even in harmony with the environment.”

With God’s help, he said, “we can heal the world working all together for the common good.”


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