Pope Francis: Coronavirus Pandemic Revealed ‘Broader Social Ills’

Pope Francis blows his nose as he leads the Ash Wednesday mass which opens Lent, the forty-day period of abstinence and deprivation for Christians before Holy Week and Easter, on February 26, 2020, at the Santa Sabina church in Rome. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP …
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis said Wednesday that the Chinese coronavirus is “not the only disease to be fought” in the modern world.

Indeed, “the pandemic has shed light on broader social ills,” the pontiff said during his weekly General Audience in Saint Peter’s Square, which include “a distorted view of the person, a perspective that ignores the dignity and relational dimension of the person.”

“At times we look at others as objects, to be used and discarded,” the pope continued. “In reality, this type of perspective blinds and fosters an individualistic and aggressive throw-away culture, which transforms the human being into a consumer good.”

In his address, the pope contrasted this “distorted view” of the person with the Christian understanding that God created man and woman “in his image and likeness,” not as objects but as persons made to love and be loved.

“In this way He has given us a unique dignity, calling us to live in communion with Him, in communion with our sisters and our brothers, with respect for all creation,” he added.

In opposition to the “individualistic perspective” proposed by the world, “Jesus proposes another type of vision: that of service and of giving one’s life for others,” Francis said.

The attitudes that most damage human harmony, he suggested, are the indifference that make people look the other way and the individualism that looks out only for its own interests.

Being made in the image of God, who is a Trinity of persons, the human being “is a social being,” Francis said, and we need to live in “social harmony.”

“While we all work for a cure for a virus that strikes everyone without distinction, faith exhorts us to commit ourselves seriously and actively to combat indifference in the face of violations of human dignity,” the pope concluded.

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