Pope Francis in his Christmas message on Friday said political and business leaders must not allow market forces. Nor patent laws to take priority over making Covid 19 vaccines available to any or all. He is condemning nationalism and “the virus of radical individualism”.
In a sign of the times, Francis delivered his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and also the world) message virtually from a lectern inside the Vatican. Rather than from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica before tens of thousands.
The pandemic and its social and economic effects dominated the message. Within which Francis necessitated global unity and help for nations full of conflicts and humanitarian crises.
The pope’s hopes
“At this moment in history, with the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s all the more important for us to acknowledge each other as brothers and sisters,” he said.
Stressing that health is a world issue, he perceives to criticize so-called ‘vaccine nationalism’. In which U.N. officials fear will worsen the pandemic if poor nations receive the vaccine last.
“I beg everyone, heads of state, companies and international organizations to promote cooperation and not competition. And to seek out an answer for everybody – vaccines for all – especially for the foremost vulnerable and needy altogether areas of the earth,” he said.
“The most vulnerable and needy must be first,” he said, within the Vatican’s Hall of the Benedictions. With only about 50 Vatican staff wearing masks sitting along the long walls.
“We can’t put ourselves before others, putting economic process and patent laws before the laws of affection and therefore the health of humanity,” he said. “We cannot let closed nationalisms block us from living just like the true human family that we are.”
Francis also perceived to criticize people that have refused to wear masks because it violates their freedom. This is an attitude that has become widespread in nations like the us.
“And neither can we allow the virus of radical individualism to overcome us. Nor make us indifferent to the suffering of other brothers and sisters,” he said.
Italians are under a nationwide lockdown for much of the Christmas and New Year holiday period. The restrictions mean people don’t seem to be ready to visit St. Peter’s Square or the basilica for papal events, which are now indoors.
Christmas is particularly a time to assist others because Jesus himself was born a poor outcast, Francis said on Thursday night at his holiday Mass. In which started two hours early that the few participants could get home in time before a 10 p.m. curfew.
“May the child of Bethlehem help us, then, to be generous, supportive and helpful. Especially towards people who are vulnerable, the sick, those unemployed or experiencing hardship because of the economic effects of the pandemic. Not forgetting women who have suffered domestic violence during these months of lockdown,” he said in his Friday address.
Third world countries need help
He then called for peace and reconciliation in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Sudan, Nigeria and Cameroon and Iraq, which he is due to visit in early March.
He also asked to comfort those plagued by humanitarian crises or natural disasters in Burkina Fasso, Mali, Niger, the Philippines and Vietnam.
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