Pope: COVID-19 teaches us we are one human community

In an interview with Italy’s daily newspaper “La Stampa”, Pope Francis describes the sorrow and pain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and emphasizes the importance of prayer.

By Vatican News

In the interview with “La Stampa”, published on Friday, Pope Francis speaks of the sorrow and pain that “everyone” is experiencing due to the coronavirus. The only way to survive this situation, he says, is by sticking together. The Pope invites us to live this moment “with penance, compassion and hope”. We need “humility”, he adds, “because too often we forget” there are dark times in life as well. “We think they can only happen to someone else. But these times are dark for everyone”, he says. Pope Francis explains that the season of Lent “trains us to show solidarity with others, especially those who suffer”. 

Prayer

The Pope emphasizes the importance of prayer, recalling how the Apostles turn to Jesus to save them during the storm (Mark 4:35-41). “Prayer helps us understand our vulnerability”, he says. “It is the cry of those who are sinking, who feel they are in danger and alone. And in a difficult, desperate situation, it is important to know that the Lord is there to cling to”. 

All are suffering

Pope Francis makes no distinction between “believers and non-believers”. People are weeping because they are suffering, he says. “Everyone” is suffering. “We are all children before God”, he adds.

Those dying without loved ones

The Pope then speaks of those who are dying alone and without the comfort of their families. He says he was struck by the story of an elderly woman who said her final goodbye to her loved ones over a phone belonging to one of the nurses. “The pain of those who have died without saying goodbye becomes a wound in the hearts of those who are left behind”, says Pope Francis. He thanks “all the nurses, doctors and volunteers who, despite their incredible exhaustion”, offer themselves, “with patience and kindness” to stand in for family members who cannot be there.

Pope Francis also addresses the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for our future. The current crisis will help to remind us “once and for all, that humanity is a single community”, he says. It will teach us that “universal kinship” is important and critical. We should think about it like a “post-war” phenomenon, he says: “It will no longer be ‘them’. It will be ‘us’. Because we can only come out of this situation together”. Pope Francis concludes saying: “We will need to look even more closely at our roots: our grandparents, the elderly”. We will need “to build true kinship amongst us”.