ROME, Italy — Pope Francis proposed Monday that building back better after the coronavirus pandemic involves repudiating the errors of the past.
A serious and honest analysis of the past “includes the recognition of the systemic deficiencies, the mistakes made, and the lack of responsibility towards the Creator, our neighbor and creation,” the pope told the GLOBSEC Bratislava Forum on the theme of building the world back better.
It is essential “to develop an idea of recovery that aims not only to rebuild what existed, but to correct what no longer worked before the arrival of the Coronavirus and that has contributed to aggravating the crisis,” the pontiff said in his Spanish-language video message.
In order to rebuild our world after the experience of the pandemic, he stated, we must “confront a number of serious socio-economic, ecological and political issues, all of which are interrelated.”
In his analysis of the circumstances that led to the present situation, Francis said, “I see a world that has been fooled by an illusory sense of security based on profit.”
“I see a model of economic and social life characterized by so many inequalities and selfishness, in which a tiny minority of the world’s population owns most of the assets, and which often does not hesitate to exploit people and resources,” he continued.
“I see a lifestyle that does not take sufficient care of the environment,” the pope added. “We have become accustomed to consuming and destroying without qualms what belongs to everyone and should be safeguarded with respect.”
By so doing, we have created an “ecological debt” that weighs heavily on the poor and future generations, Francis said.
To build back better, conversion is needed, he declared, including “decisions that turn death into life, weapons into food.”
“But we all also need to undertake an ecological conversion,” he said. “In effect, the overall vision includes the perspective of a creation understood as a ‘common home’ and urgently calls for action to protect it.”