COVID-19 Solidarity Call

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Cardinal Turkson has issued a COVID-19 solidarity call to the Presidents of Bishops Conferences, bishops responsible for health pastoral care, social-healthcare and pastoral workers, civil authorities, patients and all their families, and to volunteers and all persons of goodwill.

For every person, believer or non-believer, this is a good time to understand the value of brotherhood, of being inseparably linked to each other; a time in which, from the perspective of faith, the value of solidarity, which springs from the love that is sacrificed for others, “helps us to see the ‘other’ – whether a person, people, or nation – not just as some kind of instrument […], but as our ‘neighbour’, a ‘helper’ (cf. Gen 2: 18, 20), to be made a sharer, on a par with ourselves, in the banquet of life to which all are equally invited by God” (SRS 39.5). The value of solidarity also needs to be incarnated. Let us think of our neighbour, the office colleague, the school friend, but above all of the doctors and nurses who risk contamination and infection to save those who are infected. These workers live and show us the meaning of the Paschal mystery: donation and service.

Message of Cardinal Turkson, Prefect, Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.

Cardinal Turkson’s message stresses the importance of solidarity and caring for one another in the face of the “great concern and growing anxiety” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has highlighted “human fragility and the vulnerability of supposed security in technology”. All “the most significant activities, such as the economy, business, work, travel, tourism, sport and even worship” are affected and the virus also “significantly limits the freedom of space and movement”. 

Countries whose medical systems are the weakest need international assistance, and the Vatican itself is contributing to these efforts. Cardinal Turkson notes that “this incidence of the virus, like any emergency situation, highlights the serious inequalities that characterise our socio-economic systems”. Those with the fewest economic resources and the most insecure employment are more affected and there are geographical as well as economic differences in access to health services, “as well as in qualified personnel and scientific research”.

Rather than scrambling to protect oneself and one’s family, Cardinal Turkson says “the human family is required to feel and to live truly as an interconnected and interdependent family. The incidence of the Coronavirus has demonstrated this global significance, having initially affected only one country and then spread to every part of the globe.” He calls for the defeat of fear and the victory of hope, and encourages those affected by restrictions “not to live everything as a form of deprivation”. If we cannot be together for worship, we can take this opportunity to go into our private rooms (Mt6:6) to deepen our personal relationship with Jesus.

Cardinal Turkson’s COVID-19 solidarity call continues:

We ask the political and economic authorities not to neglect social justice and support for the economy and research, now that the virus is unfortunately creating a new “economic crisis”. We will continue in every way to support the efforts of health workers and medical facilities in various parts of the world, especially in the most remote and those most in difficulty, relying also on the active solidarity of everyone.

Read the full text here.