Pope Francis said that the coronavirus pandemic has shown how the poor are disconnected from society. Poverty is often hidden, ” he said, but in trying to help others can help us to rediscover ourselves.
This coronavirus crisis affects us all, rich and poor, and to put a spotlight on the hypocrisy. I am concerned about the hypocrisy of some politicians who speak to the face of the crisis, the problem of hunger in the world, but, in the meantime, the manufacture of weapons.
It is a time to be converted from this type of functional hypocrisy. It is a time for integrity. Either we are consistent with our beliefs, or we lose everything.
Every crisis contains both danger and opportunity. Today, I believe that we have to slow down our pace of production and consumption and learn to understand and contemplate the natural world. We need to reconnect with our real environment. This is the opportunity for the conversion.
I see the first signs of an economy that is more human. But let us not lose our memory once all this is past, don’t let us keep the file and return to the place where we were. This is the time to do the decisive step, to go between the help and the misuse of nature to behold. We have lost the contemplative dimension; we have to recover.
And speaking of contemplation, I would like to dwell on a point.
This is the time to see the poor. Jesus says that we will have the poor with us always, and it is true. They are a reality we cannot deny. But the poor are hidden, because poverty is shy.
In Rome recently, in the mid-forties, a police officer said to a man: “You can’t be in the street, go to the house. “The response was:” I don’t have a home. I live in the street. ”
There are a large number of people who are on the margins. And we do not see them, because poverty is shy. They have become an integral part of the landscape; they are things.
Mother Teresa saw and had the courage to embark on the path of conversion. To ” see ” the poor means of restoring their humanity. They are not things, are not waste, they are people.
We can’t settle for a policy of well-being such as we have in animal rescue. that is the way the poor are often treated.
We need to say this often: the poor person had a mother who was raised with love
I’ll dare offer some advice. This is the time to go to the underground. I am thinking of Dostoyevsky’s short novel, Notes from Underground.
The employees of the hospital of the prison had become so accustomed to it that they treated their poor prisoners like things. And to see the way he treated the one who had just died, the one on the bed next to them says: “Enough! He too had a mother! ”
We need to say this often: that the poor had a mother who was raised with love. Later in life, we don’t know what happened. But it also helps to think that love once, he was received by his mother of hope.
We disempower the poor. We do not give them the right to dream of their mothers. They do not know what affection is; many of them live on drugs. And to see, can help us to discover the piety, which points to God and our neighbor.
Down in the underground, and switch from hyper-virtual, fleshless world of the suffering of the flesh of the poor. This is the conversion, we have to undergo. And if we don’t start there, then there will be no conversion.
The Pope’s contribution has been provided by the Vatican and is part of a long interview that he gave to his biographer, Austen Ivereigh.
BBC Radio 4, Radio 5 Live and World Service are brought together for a unique collaboration: BBC to Rethink. It asks how society and our lives can change for the better after the Covid-19 crisis.
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