Healing


Pope Francis   07.2.19    Holy Mass  Santa Marta    Mark 6: 7-13
Pope Francis 07.02.19 Mass at Santa Marta

The Gospel tells of how Jesus sends his disciples into the world to bring healing, just as He Himself came into the world to heal. To heal the root of sin in us, the original sin.
Healing is a bit like creating from anew. Jesus recreated us from the root and then allowed us to move forward with his teaching, with his doctrine, a doctrine that heals.

But, the first requisite is that there be conversion. Conversion is the first step of healing in the sense that it opens the heart so that the Word of God may enter.

If someone is sick and refuses to go to the doctor he will not be healed.

As Christians, we may do many good things, but if our hearts our closed, it’s only a façade.

In order to proclaim so that people may convert, one requires authority that comes from being like Jesus.

In the Gospel Jesus instructs the Apostles to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick - no food, no sack, no money in their belts. In essence, poverty.

The apostle must be a pastor who does not seek sheep's milk, who does not seek sheep's wool.  As expressed by Saint Augustine the shepherd who seeks milk seeks money, and the shepherd who seeks wool likes to dress with vanity.

I invite Christians to follow a path of poverty,
humility, meekness. Jesus told the Apostles “Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet”, but do so with meekness and humility.

If an
apostle, an envoy, one of us goes, with his nose in the air, believing himself superior to the others or because of self-interest looking for some human interest
he will never heal anyone, he will never succeed in opening anyone's heart, because his word will have no authority.

After having exhorted to conversion, the Twelve drove out many demons and they could do so because they had the authority to say “This is a demon! This is a sin.”
This authority is not the authority of someone who speaks down to people, but of someone who is interested in people. Demons flee before humility, before the power of Christ’s name with which the apostle carries out his mission, because demons cannot bear that sins be healed.

The Apostles also anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. The anointing is the caress of God, so all apostles must learn this wisdom of God’s caresses.

All Christians can bring healing, not only priests and bishops: “each of us has the power to heal his brother or sister.”

We all need to be healed, and we can all heal others if we are humble and meek: with a good word, with patience, with a glance.






Pope Francis  05.08.20  General Audience, Library of the Apostolic Palace     Catechesis: “To heal the world” - 1. Introduction      Mark 2: 1-5, 10, 11

Pope Francis - To Heal the World - General Audience - 05.08.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The pandemic continues to cause deep wounds, exposing our vulnerability. On every continent there are many who have died, many are ill. Many people and many families are living a time of uncertainty because of socio-economic problems which especially affect the poorest.

Thus, we must keep our gaze firmly fixed on Jesus (see Heb 12:2): in the midst of this pandemic, our eyes on Jesus; and with this faith embrace the hope of the Kingdom of God that Jesus Himself brings us (see Mk 1:5; Mt 4:17; CCC 2816). A Kingdom of healing and of salvation that is already present in our midst (see Lk 10:11). A Kingdom of justice and of peace that is manifested through works of charity, which in their turn increase hope and strengthen faith (see 1 Cor 13:13). Within the Christian tradition, faith, hope and charity are much more than feelings or attitudes. They are virtues infused in us through the grace of the Holy Spirit (see CCC, 1812, 1813): gifts that heal us and that make us healers, gifts that open us to new horizons, even while we are navigating the difficult waters of our time.

Renewed contact with the Gospel of faith, of hope and of love invites us to assume a creative and renewed spirit. In this way, we will be able to transform the roots of our physical, spiritual and social infirmities and the destructive practices that separate us from each other, threatening the human family and our planet.

Jesus’s ministry offers many examples of healing: when He heals those affected by fever (see Mk 1:29-34), by leprosy (see Mk 1:40-45), by paralysis (see Mk 2:1-12); when He restores sight (see Mk 8:22-26; Jn 9:1-7), speech or hearing (see Mk 7:31-37). In reality, He heals not only the physical evil – which is true, physical evil – but He heals the entire person. In that way, He restores the person back to the community also, healed; He liberates the person from isolation because He has healed him or her.

Let’s think of the beautiful account of the healing of the paralytic at Capernaum (see Mk 2:1-12) that we heard at the beginning of the audience. While Jesus is preaching at the entrance to the house, four men bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus. Not being able to enter because there was such a great crowd there, they make a hole in the roof and let the stretcher down in front of Him. Jesus who was preaching sees this stretcher coming down in front of Him. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven’ ” (v. 5). And then, as a visible sign, He adds: “Rise, pick up your mat, and go home” (v. 11).

What a wonderful example of healing! Christ’s action is a direct response to the faith of those people, to the hope they put in Him, to the love they show that they have for each other. And so, Jesus heals, but He does not simply heal the paralysis. Jesus heals everyone, He forgives sins, He renews the life of the paralyzed man and his friend. He makes him born again, let’s say it that way. It is a physical and spiritual healing, all together, the fruit of personal and social contact. Let’s imagine how this friendship, and the faith of all those present in that house, would have grown thanks to Jesus’s action, that healing encounter with Jesus!

And so we can ask ourselves: today, in what way can we help heal our world? As disciples of the Lord Jesus, who is the physician of our souls and bodies, we are called to continue “His work, work of healing and salvation” (CCC, 1421) in a physical, social and spiritual sense.

Although the Church administers Christ’s healing grace through the Sacraments, and although she provides healthcare services in the remotest corners of the planet, she is not an expert in the prevention or the cure of the pandemic. She helps with the sick, but she is not an expert. Neither does she give specific socio-political pointers (see St Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Octogesima adveniens, 14 May 1971, no. 4). This is the job of political and social leaders. Nevertheless, over the centuries, and by the light of the Gospel, the Church has developed several social principles which are fundamental (see The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 160-208), principles that can help us move forward in preparing the future that we need. I cite the main ones which are closely connected: the principle of the dignity of the person, the principle of the common good, the principle of the preferential option for the poor, the principle of the universal destination of goods, the principle of the solidarity, of subsidiarity, the principle of the care for our common home. These principles help the leaders, those responsible for society, to foster growth and also, as in the case of the pandemic, the healing of the personal and social fabric. All of these principles express in different ways the virtues of faith, hope and love.

In the next few weeks, I invite you to tackle together the pressing questions that the pandemic has brought to the fore, social ills above all. And we will do it in the light of the Gospel, of the theological virtues and of the principles of the Church’s social doctrine. We will explore together how our Catholic social tradition can help the human family heal this world that suffers from serious illnesses. It is my desire that everyone reflect and work together, as followers of Jesus who heals, to construct a better world, full of hope for future generations (see Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium, 24, November 2013, no. 183). Thank you.




Pope Francis   12.08.20 General Audience, Library of the Apostolic Palace     Catechesis: To Heal the World - 2. Faith and Human Dignity     Genesis 1: 27, 28 2: 15

Pope Francis - recognise the human dignity in every person - General Audience 12.08.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The pandemic has highlighted how vulnerable and interconnected everyone is. If we do not take care of one another, starting with the least, with those who are most impacted, including creation, we cannot heal the world.

Commendable is the effort of so many people who have been offering evidence of human and Christian love for neighbour, dedicating themselves to the sick even at the risk of their own health. They are heroes! However, the coronavirus is not the only disease to be fought, but rather, the pandemic has shed light on broader social ills. One of these is a distorted view of the person, a perspective that ignores the dignity and relationship of the person. (la sua refers to person, not his or her) At times we look at others as objects, to be used and discarded. 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 (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, 53; Encyclical Laudato Si’, [LS], 22).

In the light of faith we know, instead, that God looks at a man and a woman in another manner. He created us not as objects but as people loved and capable of loving; He has created us in His image and likeness (see Gen 1:27). 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. In communion, in harmony, we might say. Creation is the harmony in which we are called to live. And in this communion, in this harmony that is communion, God gives us the ability to procreate and safeguard life (see Gen 1:28-29), to till and keep the land (see Gen 2:15; LS, 67). It is clear that one cannot procreate and safeguard life without harmony; it will be destroyed.

We have an example of that individualistic perspective, that which is not harmony, in the Gospels, in the request made to Jesus by the mother of the disciples James and John (cf. Mt 20:20-38). She wanted her sons to sit at the right and the left of the new king. But Jesus proposes another type of vision: that of service and of giving one’s life for others, and He confirms it by immediately restoring sight to two blind men and making them His disciples (see Mt 20:29-34). Seeking to climb in life, to be superior to others, destroys harmony. It is the logic of dominion, of dominating others. Harmony is something else: it is service.

Therefore, let us ask the Lord to give us eyes attentive to our brothers and sisters, especially those who are suffering. As Jesus’s disciples we do not want to be indifferent or individualistic. These are the two unpleasant attitudes that run counter to harmony. Indifferent: I look the other way. Individualist: looking out only for one’s own interest. The harmony created by God asks that we look at others, the needs of others, the problems of others, in communion. We want to recognise the human dignity in every person, whatever his or her race, language or condition might be. Harmony leads you to recognise human dignity, that harmony created by God, with humanity at the centre.

The Second Vatican Council emphasises that this dignity is inalienable, because it “was created ‘to the image of God’” (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 12). It lies at the foundation of all social life and determines its operative principles. In modern culture, the closest reference to the principle of the inalienable dignity of the person is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Saint John Paul II defined as a “milestone on the long and difficult path of the human race”, [1] and as “one of the highest expressions of the human conscience”. [2] Rights are not only individual, but also social; they are of peoples, nations. [3] The human being, indeed, in his or her personal dignity, is a social being, created in the image of God, One and Triune. We are social beings; we need to live in this social harmony, but when there is selfishness, our outlook does not reach others, the community, but focuses on ourselves, and this makes us ugly, nasty and selfish, destroying harmony.

This renewed awareness of the dignity of every human being has serious social, economic and political implications. Looking at our brother and sister and the whole of creation as a gift received from the love of the Father inspires attentive behaviour, care and wonder. In this way the believer, contemplating his or her neighbour as a brother or sister, and not as a stranger, looks at him or her compassionately and empathetically, not contemptuously or with hostility. Contemplating the world in the light of faith, with the help of grace, we strive to develop our creativity and enthusiasm in order to resolve the ordeals of the past. We understand and develop our abilities as responsibilities that arise from this faith,[4] as gifts from God to be placed at the service of humanity and of creation.

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. This culture of indifference that accompanies the throwaway culture: things that do not affect me, do not interest me. Faith always requires that we let ourselves be healed and converted from our individualism, whether personal or collective; party individualism, for example.

May the Lord “restore our sight” so as to rediscover what it means to be members of the human family. And may this sight be translated into concrete actions of compassion and respect for every person and of care and safeguarding of our common home.

[1] Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations (2 October 1979).
[2] Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations (5 October 1995).
[3] Cf. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 157.
[4] Ibid.



Pope Francis   19.08.20  General Audience, Library of the Apostolic Palace Catechesis: "Healing the World":3. The preferential option for the poor and the virtue of charity
2 Corinthians 8: 1, 2, 9

Pope Francis  The preferential option for the poor - General Audience 19.08.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good day!

The pandemic has exposed the plight of the poor and the great inequality that reigns in the world. And the virus, while it does not distinguish between people, has found, in its devastating path, great inequalities and discrimination. And it has exacerbated them!

The response to the pandemic is therefore dual. On the one hand, it is essential to find a cure for this small but terrible virus, which has brought the whole world to its knees. On the other, we must also cure a larger virus, that of social injustice, inequality of opportunity, marginalisation, and the lack of protection for the weakest. In this dual response for healing there is a choice that, according to the Gospel, cannot be lacking: the preferential option for the poor (see Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium [EG], 195). And this is not a political option; nor is it an ideological option, a party option… no. The preferential option for the poor is at the centre of the Gospel. And the first to do this was Jesus; we heard this in the reading from the Letter to the Corinthians which was read at the beginning. Since He was rich, He made Himself poor to enrich us. He made Himself one of us and for this reason, at the centre of the Gospel, there is this option, at the centre of Jesus’ proclamation.

Christ Himself, Who is God, despoiled Himself, making Himself similar to men; and he chose not a life of privilege, but he chose the condition of a servant (cf. Phil 2:6-7). He annihilated Himself by making Himself a servant. He was born into a humble family and worked as a craftsman. At the beginning of His preaching, He announced that in the Kingdom of God the poor are blessed (cf. Mt 5:3; Lk 6:20; EG, 197). He stood among the sick, the poor, the excluded, showing them God's merciful love (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2444). And many times He was judged an impure man because He went to the sick, to lepers… and this made people impure, according to the law of the age. And He took risks to be near to the poor.

Therefore, Jesus’ followers recognise themselves by their closeness to the poor, the little ones, the sick and the imprisoned, the excluded and the forgotten, those without food and clothing (cf. Mt 25:31-36; CCC, 2443). We can read that famous protocol by which we will all be judged, we will all be judged. It is Matthew, chapter 25. This is a key criterion of Christian authenticity (cf. Gal 2:10; EG, 195). Some mistakenly think that this preferential love for the poor is a task for the few, but in reality it is the mission of the Church as a whole, as Saint John Paul II said. (cf. St. John Paul II, Sollicitudo rei socialis, 42). “Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor society” (EG, 187).

Faith, hope and love necessarily push us towards this preference for those most in need, [1] which goes beyond necessary assistance (cf. EG, 198). Indeed it implies walking together, letting ourselves be evangelised by them, who know the suffering Christ well, letting ourselves be “infected” by their experience of salvation, by their wisdom and by their creativity (see ibid). Sharing with the poor means mutual enrichment. And, if there are unhealthy social structures that prevent them from dreaming of the future, we must work together to heal them, to change them (see ibid, 195). And we are led to this by the love of Christ, Who loved us to the extreme (see Jn 13:1), and reaches the boundaries, the margins, the existential frontiers. Bringing the peripheries to the centre means focusing our life on Christ, Who “made Himself poor” for us, to enrich us “by His poverty” (2 Cor 8:9),[2] as we have heard.

We are all worried about the social consequences of the pandemic. All of us. Many people want to return to normality and resume economic activities. Certainly, but this “normality” should not include social injustices and the degradation of the environment. The pandemic is a crisis, and we do not emerge from a crisis the same as before: either we come out of it better, or we come out of it worse. We must come out of it better, to counter social injustice and environmental damage. Today we have an opportunity to build something different. For example, we can nurture an economy of the integral development of the poor, and not of providing assistance. By this I do not wish to condemn assistance: aid is important. I am thinking of the voluntary sector, which is one of the best structures of the Italian Church. Yes, aid does this, but we must go beyond this, to resolve the problems that lead us to provide aid. An economy that does not resort to remedies that in fact poison society, such as profits not linked to the creation of dignified jobs (see EG, 204). This type of profit is dissociated from the real economy, that which should bring benefits to the common people (see Encyclical Laudato si’ [LS], 109), and in addition is at times indifferent to the damage inflicted to our common home. The preferential option for the poor, this ethical-social need that comes from God’s love (cf. LS, 158), inspires us to conceive of and design an economy where people, and especially the poorest, are at the centre. And it also encourages us to plan the treatment of viruses by prioritising those who are most in need. It would be sad if, for the vaccine for Covid-19, priority were to be given to the richest! It would be sad if this vaccine were to become the property of this nation or another, rather than universal and for all. And what a scandal it would be if all the economic assistance we are observing - most of it with public money - were to focus on rescuing those industries that do not contribute to the inclusion of the excluded, the promotion of the least, the common good or the care of creation (ibid.). There are criteria for choosing which industries should be helped: those which contribute to the inclusion of the excluded, to the promotion of the last, to the common good and the care of creation. Four criteria.

If the virus were to intensify again in a world that is unjust to the poor and vulnerable, then we must change this world. Following the example of Jesus, the doctor of integral divine love, that is, of physical, social and spiritual healing (cf. Jn 5:6-9) - like the healing worked by Jesus - we must act now, to heal the epidemics caused by small, invisible viruses, and to heal those caused by the great and visible social injustices. I propose that this be done by starting from the love of God, placing the peripheries at the centre and the last in first place. Do not forget that protocol by which we will be judged, Matthew, chapter 25. Let us put it into practice in this recovery from the epidemic. And starting from this tangible love - as the Gospel says, there - anchored in hope and founded in faith, a healthier world will be possible. Otherwise, we will come out of the crisis worse. May the Lord help us, and give us the strength to come out of it better, responding to the needs of today’s world. Thank you.

[1] See Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on some aspects of “Liberation Theology”, (1984), 5.

[2] Benedict XVI, Address at the Inaugural Session of the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean (13 May 2007




Pope Francis     26.08.20  General Audience, Library of the Apostolic     Catechesis - “To Heal the World”: 4. The universal destination of goods and the virtue of hope 
Acts 4: 32-35

Pope Francis  Welcome the Gift of Hope 26.08.20 General Audience

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In the face of the pandemic and its social consequences, many risk losing hope. In this time of uncertainty and anguish, I invite everyone to welcome the gift of hope that comes from Christ. It is He who helps us navigate the tumultuous waters of sickness, death and injustice, which do not have the last word over our final destination.

The pandemic has exposed and aggravated social problems, above all that of inequality. Some people can work from home, while this is impossible for many others. Certain children, notwithstanding the difficulties involved, can continue to receive an academic education, while this has been abruptly interrupted for many, many others. Some powerful nations can issue money to deal with the crisis, while this would mean mortgaging the future for others.

These symptoms of inequality reveal a social illness; it is a virus that comes from a sick economy. And we must say it simply: the economy is sick. It has become ill. It is sick. It is the fruit of unequal economic growth – this is the illness: the fruit of unequal economic growth – that disregards fundamental human values. In today’s world, a few rich people possess more than all the rest of humanity. I will repeat this so that it makes us think: a few rich people, a small group, possess more than all the rest of humanity. This is pure statistics. This is an injustice that cries out to heaven! At the same time, this economic model is indifferent to the damage inflicted on our common home. Care is not being taken of our common home. We are close to exceeding many limits of our wonderful planet, with serious and irreversible consequences: from the loss of biodiversity and climate change to rising sea levels and the destruction of the tropical forests. Social inequality and environmental degradation go together and have the same root (see Encyclical, Laudato Si’, 101): the sin of wanting to possess and wanting to dominate one’s brothers and sisters, of wanting to possess and dominate nature and God Himself. But this is not the design for creation.

“In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2402). God has called us to dominate the earth in His name (see Gen 1:28), tilling it and keeping it like a garden, everyone’s garden (see Gen 2:15). “‘Tilling’ refers to cultivating, ploughing or working, while ‘keeping’ means caring, protecting, overseeing and preserving” (LS, 67). But be careful not to interpret this as a carte blanche to do whatever you want with the earth. No. There exists a “relationship of mutual responsibility” (ibid.) between ourselves and nature. A relationship of mutual responsibility between ourselves and nature. We receive from creation and we give back in return. “Each community can take from the bounty of the earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect the earth” (ibid.). It goes both ways.

In fact, the earth “was here before us and it has been given to us” (ibid.), it has been given by God “for the whole human race” (CCC, 2402). And therefore it is our duty to make sure that its fruit reaches everyone, not just a few people. And this is a key element of our relationship with earthly goods. As the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council recalled, they said: “Man should regard the external things that he legitimately possesses not only as his own but also as common in the sense that they should be able to benefit not only him but also others” (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 69). In fact, “The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others” (CCC, 2404). We are administrators of the goods, not masters. Administrators. “Yes, but the good is mine”: that is true, it is yours, but to administer it, not to possess it selfishly for yourself.

To ensure that what we possess brings value to the community, “political authority has the right and duty to regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good” (ibid., 2406).[1] The “subordination of private property to the universal destination of goods, […] is a golden rule of social conduct and the first principle of the whole ethical and social order” (LS, 93).[2]

Property and money are instruments that can serve mission. However, we easily transform them into ends, whether individual or collective. And when this happens, essential human values are affected. The homo sapiens is deformed and becomes a species of homo œconomicus – in a detrimental sense – a species of man that is individualistic, calculating and domineering. We forget that, being created in the image and likeness of God, we are social, creative and solidary beings with an immense capacity to love. We often forget this. In fact, from among all the species, we are the beings who are the most cooperative and we flourish in community, as is seen well in the experience of the saints. There is a saying in Spanish that inspired me to write this phrase. It says: “Florecemos en racimo, como los santos”: we flourish in community, as is seen well in the experience of the saints.[3]

When the obsession to possess and dominate excludes millions of persons from having primary goods; when economic and technological inequality are such that the social fabric is torn; and when dependence on unlimited material progress threatens our common home, then we cannot stand by and watch. No, this is distressing. We cannot stand by and watch! With our gaze fixed on Jesus (see Heb 12:2) and with the certainty that His love is operative through the community of His disciples, we must act all together, in the hope of generating something different and better. Christian hope, rooted in God, is our anchor. It moves the will to share, strengthening our mission as disciples of Christ, Who shared everything with us.

The first Christian communities understood this. They lived difficult times, like us. Aware that they formed one heart and one soul, they put all of their goods in common, bearing witness to Christ’s abundant grace in them (see Acts 4:32-35). We are experiencing a crisis. The pandemic has put all of us in crisis. But let us remember that after a crisis a person is not the same. We come out of it better, or we come out of it worse. This is our option. After the crisis, will we continue with this economic system of social injustice and depreciating care for the environment, for creation, for our common home? Let’s think about this. May the Christian communities of the twenty-first century recuperate this reality – care for creation and social justice: they go together … – thus bearing witness to the Lord’s Resurrection. If we take care of the goods that the Creator gives us, if we put what we possess in common in such a way that no one would be lacking, then we would truly inspire hope to regenerate a more healthy and equal world.

And in conclusion, let us think about the children. Read the statistics: how many children today are dying of hunger because the distribution of riches is not good, because of the economic system as I said above; and how many children today do not have the right to education for the same reason. May this image of children in want due to hunger and the lack of education help us understand that after this crisis we must come out of it better. Thank you.

[1]See GS, 71; S. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Sollicitudo rei socialis, 42; Encyclical Letter Centesimus annus, 40.48).
[2]See S. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Laborem exercens, 19.
[3] “Florecemos en racimo, como los santos” (We bloom in clusters, like the saints): a popular expression in Spanish.




Pope Francis  02.09.20  General Audience San Damaso courtyard      Catechesis: “Healing the world” - 5. Solidarity and the virtue of faith      Acts 2: 1-4

Pope Francis  Solidarity and the virtue of faith  02.09.20 General Audience

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

After many months we meet each other again our face to face, rather than screen to screen. Face to face. This is good! The current pandemic has highlighted our interdependence: we are all linked to each other, for better or for worse. Therefore, to come out of this crisis better than before, we have to do so together; together, not alone. Together. Alone no, because it cannot be done. Either it is done together, or it is not done. We must do it together, all of us, in solidarity. I would like to underline this word today: solidarity.

As a human family we have our common origin in God; we dwell in a common home, the garden-planet, the earth where God placed us; and we have a common destination in Christ. But when we forget all this, our interdependence becomes dependence on others, we lose this harmony of interdependence and solidarity and we become dependent - the dependence of some on a few, on others - increasing inequality and marginalisation; it weakens the social fabric and the environment deteriorates. It is always the same. The same way of acting.

Therefore, the principle of solidarity is now more necessary than ever, as Saint John Paul II taught (cf. Sollicitudo rei socialis, 38-40). In an interconnected world, we experience what it means to live in the same “global village”; this expression is beautiful, isn’t it? The big wide world is none other than a global village, because everything is interconnected, but we do not always transform this interdependence into solidarity. There is a long journey between interdependence and solidarity. Selfishness - individual, national and power-groups - and ideological rigidities instead sustain "structures of sin” (ibid., 36).

“The word ‘solidarity’ is a little worn and at times poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts - the odd sporadic act - of generosity". Much more! “It presumes the creation of a new mindset; a new mindset which thinks in terms of community and the priority of life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 188). This is what “solidarity” means. It is not merely a question of helping others - it is good to do so, but it is more than that - it is a matter of justice (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1938-1949). Interdependence, in order to be in solidarity and to bear fruit, needs strong roots in the humanity and nature created by God; it needs respect for faces and for the land.

The Bible, from the very beginning, warns us of this. Think of the account of the Tower of Babel (see Gen 11: 1-9), which describes what happens when we try to reach heaven - that is, our destination - ignoring our bond with humanity, creation and the Creator. It is a figure of speech. This happens every time that someone wants to climb up and up, without taking others into consideration. Just myself, no? Think about the tower. We build towers and skyscrapers, but we destroy community. We unify buildings and languages, but we mortify cultural wealth. We want to be masters of the Earth, but we ruin biodiversity and ecological balance. In another audience I spoke about those fishermen from San Benedetto del Tronto, who came this year, and they told me that this year: “We have taken 24 tonnes of waste out of the sea, half of which was plastic”. Just think! These people have the task of catching fish - yes - but also refuse, and of taking it out of the water to clean up the sea. But this is ruining the earth - not having solidarity with the earth, which is a gift - and the ecological balance.

I remember a medieval account of this “Babel syndrome”, which occurs when there is no solidarity. This medieval account says that, during the building of the tower, when a man fell - they were slaves, weren’t they? - and died, no-one said anything, or at best, “Poor thing, he made a mistake and he fell”. Instead, if a brick fell, everyone complained. And if someone was to blame, he was punished. Why? Because a brick was costly to make, to prepare, to fire… All of this. It took time to produce a brick, and work. A brick was worth more than a human life. Every one of us, think about what happens today. Unfortunately, something of the type can happen nowadays too. When shares fall in the financial markets, all the agencies report the news - we have seen it in the newspapers in these days. Thousands of people fall due to hunger and poverty, and no-one talks about it.

Pentecost is diametrically opposed to Babel (see Acts 2: 1-3), we heard at the beginning of the audience. The Holy Spirit, descending from above like wind and fire, sweeps over the community closed up in the Cenacle, infuses it with the power of God, and inspires it to go out and announce the Lord Jesus to everyone. The Spirit creates unity in diversity; He creates harmony. In the account of the Tower of Babel, there is no harmony; only pressing forward in order to earn. There, others are simply instruments, mere “manpower”, but here, in Pentecost, each one of us is an instrument, but a community instrument that participates fully in building up the community. Saint Francis of Assisi knew this well, and inspired by the Spirit, he gave all people, indeed creatures, the name of brother or sister (see LS 11; see Saint Bonaventure, Legenda maior, VIII, 6: FF 1145). Even brother wolf, remember.

With Pentecost, God makes Himself present and inspires the faith of the community united in diversity and in solidarity. Diversity and solidarity united in harmony, this is the way. A diversity in solidarity possesses “antibodies” that ensure that the singularity of each person - which is a gift, unique and unrepeatable - not sicken with individualism, with selfishness. Diversity in solidarity also possesses antibodies that heal social structures and processes that have degenerated into systems of injustice, systems of oppression (see Compendium of the social doctrine of the Church, 192). Therefore, solidarity today is the road to take towards a post-pandemic world, towards the healing of our interpersonal and social sicknesses. There is no other way. Either we go ahead along the road of solidarity, or things will worsen. I want to repeat this: one does not come out of a crisis the same as before. The pandemic is a crisis. We emerge from a crisis either better or worse than before. It is up to us to choose. And solidarity is, indeed, a way of coming out of the crisis better, not with superficial changes, with a fresh coat of paint so everything looks fine. No. Better!

In the midst of crises, a solidarity guided by faith enables us to translate the love of God in our globalised culture, not by building towers or walls - and how many walls are being built today! - that divide, but then collapse, but by interweaving communities and sustaining processes of growth that are truly human and solid. And to do this, solidity helps. I would like to ask a question: do I think of the needs of others? Everyone, answer in your heart.

In the midst of crises and tempests, the Lord calls to us and invites us to reawaken and activate this solidarity capable of giving solidity, support and meaning to these hours in which everything seems to be wrecked. May the creativity of the Holy Spirit encourage us to generate new forms of familiar hospitality, fruitful fraternity and universal solidarity. Thank you.





Pope Francis   09.09.20  General Audience San Damaso courtyard      Catechesis “Healing the World”: 6. Love and the common good     Matthew 15: 32-37

Pope Francis  Love and the common good  09.09.20 General Audience

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

The crisis we are living due to the pandemic is affecting everyone; we will emerge from it for the better if we all seek the common good together; the contrary is we will emerge for the worse. Unfortunately, we see partisan interests emerging. For example, some would like to appropriate possible solutions for themselves, as in the case of vaccines, to then sell them to others. Some are taking advantage of the situation to instigate divisions: by seeking economic or political advantages, generating or exacerbating conflicts. Others simply are not interesting themselves in the suffering of others, they pass by and go their own way (see Lk 10:30-32. They are the devotees of Pontius Pilate, washing their hands of others’ suffering.

The Christian response to the pandemic and to the consequent socio-economic crisis is based on love, above all, love of God who always precedes us (see 1 Jn 4:19). He loves us first, He always precedes us in love and in solutions. He loves us unconditionally and when we welcome this divine love, then we can respond similarly. I love not only those who love me – my family, my friends, my group – but I also love those who do not love me, I also love those who do not know me or who are strangers, and even those who make me suffer or whom I consider enemies (see Mt 5:44). This is Christian wisdom, this is how Jesus acted. And the highest point of holiness, let’s put it that way, is to love one’s enemies which is not easy, it is not easy. Certainly, to love everyone, including enemies, is difficult – I would say it is even an art! But an art that can be learned and improved. True love that makes us fruitful and free is always expansive, and true love is not only expansive, it is inclusive. This love cares, heals and does good. How many times a caress does more good than many arguments, a caress, we can think, of pardon instead of many arguments to defend oneself. It is inclusive love that heals.

So, love is not limited to the relationship between two or three people, or to friends or to family, it goes beyond. It comprises civil and political relationships (see Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1907-1912), including a relationship with nature (see Encyclical Laudato Si’ [LS], 231). Love is inclusive, everything. Since we are social and political beings, one of the highest expressions of love is specifically social and political which is decisive to human development and in order to face any type of crisis (ibid., 231). We know that love makes families and friendships flourish; but it is good to remember that it also makes social, cultural, economic and political relationships flourish, allowing us to construct a “civilisation of love”, as Saint Paul VI used to love to say[1] and, in turn, Saint John Paul II. Without this inspiration the egotistical, indifferent, throw-away culture prevails – that is to discard anything I do not like, whom I cannot love or those who seem to me to not to be useful in society. Today at the entrance, a married couple said to me: “Pray for me (us) because we have a disabled son.” I asked: “How old is he?” “He is pretty old.” “And what do you do?” “We accompany him, help him.” All of their lives as parents for that disabled son. This is love. And the enemies, the adversarial politicians, according to our opinion, seem to be “disabled” politicians, socially, but they seem to be that way. Only God knows if they are truly thus or not. But we must love them, we must dialogue, we must build this civilisation of love, this political and social civilisation of the unity of all humanity. Otherwise, wars, divisions, envy, even wars in families: because inclusive love is social, it is familial, it is political…love pervades everything.

The coronavirus is showing us that each person’s true good is a common good, not only individual, and, vice versa, the common good is a true good for the person. (see CCC, 1905-1906). If a person only seeks his or her own good, that person is egotistical. Instead, the person is kinder, nobler, when his or her own good is open to everyone, when it is shared. Health, in addition to being an individual good, is also a public good. A healthy society is one that takes care of everyone’s health, of all.

A virus that does not recognise barriers, borders, or cultural or political distinctions must be faced with a love without barriers, borders or distinctions. This love can generate social structures that encourage us to share rather than to compete, that allow us to include the most vulnerable and not to cast them aside, that help us to express the best in our human nature and not the worst. True love does not know the throw-away culture, it does not know what it is. In fact, when we love and generate creativity, when we generate trust and solidarity, it is then that concrete initiatives emerge for the common good.[2] And this is valid at both the level of the smallest and largest communities, as well as at the international level. What is done in the family, what is done in the neighbourhood, what is done in the village, what is done in the large cities and internationally is the same, it is the same seed that grows, grows, grows and bears fruit. If you in your family, in your neighbourhood start out with envy, with battles, there will be war in the end. Instead, if you start out with love, to share love, forgiveness, there will be love and forgiveness for everyone.

Conversely, if the solutions for the pandemic bear the imprint of egoism, whether it be by persons, businesses or nations, we may perhaps emerge from the coronavirus crisis, but certainly not from the human and social crisis that the virus has brought to light and accentuated. Therefore, be careful not to build on sand (see Mt 7:21-27)! To build a healthy, inclusive, just and peaceful society we must do so on the rock of the common good.[3] The common good is a rock. And this is everyone’s task, not only that of a few specialists. Saint Thomas Aquinas used to say that the promotion of the common good is a duty of justice that falls on each citizen. Every citizen is responsible for the common good. And for Christians, it is also a mission. As Saint Ignatius of Loyola taught, to direct our daily efforts toward the common good is a way of receiving and spreading God’s glory.

Unfortunately, politics does not often have a good reputation, and we know why. This is not to say that all politicians are bad, no, I do not want to say this. I am only saying that unfortunately, politics do not often have a good reputation. Why? But it does not have to resign itself to this negative vision, but instead react to it by showing in deeds that good politics is possible, or rather that politics[4] that puts the human person and the common good at the center is a duty. If you read history of humanity you will find many holy politicians who trod this path. It is possible insofar as every citizen, and especially those who assume social and political commitments and positions, roots what they do in ethical principles and nurtures it with social and political love. Christians, in a particular way the laity, are called to give good example of this and can do it thanks to the virtue of charity, cultivating its intrinsic social dimension.

It is therefore time to improve our social love – I want to highlight this: our social love – with everyone’s contribution, starting from our littleness. The common good requires everyone’s participation. If everyone contributes his or her part, and if no one is left out, we can regenerate good relationships on the communitarian, national and international level and even in harmony with the environment (see LS, 236). Thus, through our gestures, even the most humble ones, something of the image of God we bear within us will be made visible, because God is the Trinity, God is love, God is love. This is the most beautiful definition of God that is in the Bible. The Apostle John, who loved Jesus so much, gives it to us. With His help, we can heal the world working, yes, all together for the common good, for everyone’s common good. Thank you.

[1] Message for the X World Day of Peace, 1 January 1977: AAS 68 (1976), 709.
[2] See Saint John Paul II, Encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis, 38.
[3] Ibid., 10.
[4] See Message for World Day of Peace, 1 January 2019 (8 December 2018).





Pope Francis        16.09.20 General Audience, San Damaso courtyard      Catechesis “Healing the world”: 7. Care of the common home and contemplative dimension



Pope Francis  Care of our common home - Creation - Contemplation - 16.09.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

To emerge from a pandemic, we need to look after and care for each other. To look after and care for each other. And we must support those who care for the weakest, the sick and the elderly. Ah, there is the tendency to cast the elderly aside, to abandon them. And this is bad. These people - well defined by the Spanish term "cuidadores" (caretakers), those who take care of the sick - play an essential role in today's society, even if they often do not receive the recognition and recompense they deserve. Caring is a golden rule of our nature as human beings, and brings with it health and hope (cf. Encyclical Laudato Si’ [LS], 70). Taking care of those who are sick, of those who are in need, of those who are cast aside: this is a human, and also Christian, wealth.

We must also extend this care to our common home: to the earth and to every creature. All forms of life are interconnected (see ibid., 137-138), and our health depends on that of the ecosystems that God created and entrusted to us to care for (see Gen 2:15). Abusing them, on the other hand, is a grave sin that damages us, and harms us, and makes us sick (cf. LS, 8; 66). The best antidote against this misuse of our common home is contemplation (see ibid., 85, 214). But how come? Isn’t there a vaccine for this, for the care of the common home, so as not to set it aside? What is the antidote against the sickness of not taking care of our common home? It is contemplation. “If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple" (ibid., 215). Also in terms of using things and discarding them. However, our common home, creation, is not a mere "resource". Creatures have a value in and of themselves and each one "reflects in its own way a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 339). This value and this ray of divine light must be discovered and, in order to discover it, we need to be silent, we need to listen, and we need to contemplate. Contemplation also heals the soul.

Without contemplation, it is easy to fall prey to an unbalanced and arrogant anthropocentrism, the “I” at the centre of everything, which gives excessive importance to our role as human beings, positioning us as absolute rulers of all other creatures. A distorted interpretation of biblical texts on creation has contributed to this misinterpretation, which leads to the exploitation of the earth to the point of suffocating it. Exploiting creation: this is the sin. We believe that we are at the centre, claiming to occupy God's place and so we ruin the harmony of creation, the harmony of God’s plan. We become predators, forgetting our vocation as custodians of life. Of course, we can and must work the earth so as to live and to develop. But work is not synonymous with exploitation, and it is always accompanied by care: ploughing and protecting, working and caring... This is our mission (cf. Gen 2:15). We cannot expect to continue to grow on a material level, without taking care of the common home that welcomes us. Our poorest brothers and sisters and our mother earth lament for the damage and injustice we have caused, and demand we take another course. It demands of us a conversion, a change of path; taking care of the earth too, of creation.

Therefore, it is important to recover the contemplative dimension, that is, looking at the earth, creation as a gift, not as something to exploit for profit: no. When we contemplate, we discover in others and in nature something much greater than their usefulness. Here is the heart of the issue: contemplating is going beyond the usefulness of something. Contemplating the beautiful does not mean exploiting it, no: contemplating. It is free. We discover the intrinsic value of things given to them by God. As many spiritual masters have taught us, heaven, earth, sea, and every creature have this iconic capacity, or this mystical capacity to bring us back to the Creator and to communion with creation. For example, St. Ignatius of Loyola, at the end of his Spiritual Exercises, invites us to carry out "Contemplation to come to love", that is, to consider how God looks at His creatures and to rejoice with them; to discover God's presence in His creatures and, with freedom and grace, to love and care for them.

Contemplation, which leads us to an attitude of care, is not a question of looking at nature from the outside, as if we were not immersed in it. But we are inside nature, we are part of nature. Rather, it is done from within, recognising us as part of creation, making us protagonists and not mere spectators of an amorphous reality that is only to be exploited. Those who contemplate in this way experience wonder not only at what they see, but also because they feel they are an integral part of this beauty; and they also feel called to guard it and to protect it. And there is one thing we must not forget: those who cannot contemplate nature and creation, cannot contemplate people in their true wealth. And those who live to exploit nature end up exploiting people and treating them like slaves. This is a universal law. If you cannot contemplate nature, it will be very difficult for you to contemplate people, the beauty of people, your brother, your sister. All of us.

Those who know how to contemplate will more easily set to work to change what produces degradation and damage to health. They will strive to educate and promote new production and consumption habits, to contribute to a new model of economic growth that guarantees respect for our common home and respect for people. The contemplative in action: this is good! Each one of us should be a guardian of the environment, of the purity of the environment, seeking to combine ancestral knowledge of millennia-long cultures with new technical knowledge, so that our lifestyle may always be sustainable.

Finally, contemplating and caring: these are two attitudes that show the way to correct and rebalance our relationship as human beings with creation.

Oftentimes, our relationship with creation seems to be a relationship between enemies: destroying creation for our benefit. Exploiting creation for our profit. Let us not forget that this will be paid for dearly; let us not forget that Spanish saying: “God always forgives; we forgive sometimes; nature never forgives”. Today I was reading in the newspaper about those two great glaciers in Antarctica, near the Amundsen Sea: they are about to fall. It will be terrible, because the sea level will rise and this will bring many, many difficulties and cause so much harm. And why? Because of global warming, not caring for the environment, not caring for the common home. On the other hand, when we have this relationship - let me say the word - “fraternal": it is a figure of speech; a "fraternal" relationship with creation, we will become guardians of the common home, guardians of life and guardians of hope. We will guard the heritage that God has entrusted to us so that future generations may enjoy it. And some may say: "But, I can get by like this". But the problem is not how you are going to manage today - this was said by a German theologian, a Protestant, a good man: Bonhoeffer - the problem is not how you are managing today; the problem is: what will be the legacy, life for future generations? Let us think of our children, our grandchildren: what will we leave if we exploit creation? Let us protect this path of the "guardians" of our common home, guardians of life and also guardians of hope. They safeguard the heritage that God has entrusted to us (people, all people) so that future generations may enjoy it. I think especially of the indigenous peoples, to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude - also of penance, to repair the evil we have done to them. But I am also thinking of those movements, associations, popular groups, which are committed to protecting their territory with its natural and cultural values. These social realities are not always appreciated, and at times they are even obstructed; because they do not earn money; but in reality they contribute to a peaceful revolution, that we might call the “revolution of care”. Contemplating so as to care, contemplating to protect, to protect ourselves, creation, our children, and our grandchildren, and to protect the future. Contemplating to care for and to protect, and to leave a legacy to the future generation.

And this must not be delegated to others: this is the task of every human being. Each one of us can and must be a “guardian of the common home”, capable of praising God for His creatures, and of contemplating creatures, and protecting them. Thank you.




Pope Francis  23.09.20 General Audience, San Damaso courtyard   Catechesis “Healing the world”: 8. Subsidiarity and the virtue of hope   1 Corinthians 12: 14, 21, 22, 24-25

Pope Francis  From top to bottom and from bottom to top  - 23.09.20 General Audience

Dear Brothers and Sisters, it does not seem that the weather is that great, but I wish you a good morning all the same!

To emerge better from a crisis like the current one, which is a health crisis and is, at the same time, a social, political and economic crisis, every one of us is called to assume responsibility for our own part, that is, to share the responsibility. We must respond not only as individual people, but also from the groups to which we belong, out of the roles we have in society, from our principles and, if we are believers, from our faith in God. Often, however, many people cannot participate in the reconstruction of the common good because they are marginalised, they are excluded or ignored; certain social groups do not succeed in making a contribution because they are economically or socially suffocated. In some societies, many people are not free to express their own faith and their own values, their own ideas: if they express them freely, they are put in jail. Elsewhere, especially in the western world, many people repress their own ethical or religious convictions. This is no way to emerge from the crisis, or at least to emerge from it better. We will emerge from it worse.

So that we might be able to participate in the healing and regeneration of our peoples, it is only right that everyone should have the adequate resources to do so (see Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church [CSDC], 186). After the great economic depression of 1929, Pope Pius XI explained how important the principle of subsidiarity was (see Encyclical Quadragesimo anno, 79-80). This principle has a double movement: from top to bottom and from bottom to top. Perhaps we do not understand what this means, but it is a social principle that makes us more united. I will try to explain it.

On the one hand, and above all in moments of change, when single individuals, families, small associations and local communities are not capable of achieving primary objectives, it is then right that the highest levels of society, such as the State, should intervene to provide the necessary resources to progress. For example, because of the coronavirus lockdown, many people, families and economic entities found themselves and still find themselves in serious trouble. Thus, public institutions are trying to help through appropriate interventions, social economic, regarding health…this is their function, what they need to do.

On the other hand, however, society’s leaders must respect and promote the intermediate or lower levels. In fact, the contribution of individuals, of families, of associations, of businesses, or every intermediary body, and even of the Church, is decisive. All of these, with their own cultural, religious, economic resources, or civil participation, revitalize and reinforce society (see CSCD, 185). That is, there is a collaboration from the top and the bottom from the State to the people, and from the bottom to the top, from the institutions of people to the top. And this is exactly how the principle of subsidiarity is exercised.

Everyone needs to have the possibility of assuming their own responsibility in the process of healing the society of which they are a part. When a project is launched that directly or indirectly touches certain social groups, these groups cannot be left out from participating – for example: “What do you do?” “I go to work with the poor.” “Ah, how beautiful. And what do you do?” “I teach the poor, I tell the poor what they need to do.” No, this doesn’t work. The first step is to allow the poor to tell you how they live, what they need… Let everyone speak! And this is how the principle of subsidiarity works. We cannot leave out the participation of the people; their wisdom; the wisdom of the humbler groups cannot be set aside (see Apostolic Exhortation Querida Amazonia [QA], 32; Encyclical Laudato Si’, 63). Unfortunately, this injustice happens often in those places where huge economic and geopolitical interests are concentrated, such as, for example, certain extractive activities in some areas of the planet (see QA, 9.14). The voices of the indigenous peoples, their culture and world visions are not taken into consideration. Today, this lack of respect of the principle of subsidiarity has spread like a virus. Let’s think of the grand financial assistance measures enacted by States. The largest financial companies are listened to rather than the people or the ones who really move the economy. Multinational companies are listened to more than social movements. Putting it in everyday language, they listen more to the powerful than to the weak and this is not the way, it is not the human way, it is not the way that Jesus taught us, it is not how the principle of subsidiarity is implemented. Thus, we do not permit people to be “agents in their own redemption”.[1] There is this motto in the collective unconscious of some politicians or some social workers: everything for the people, nothing with the people. From top to bottom without listening to the wisdom of the people, without activating the wisdom of the people in resolving problems, in this case to emerge from the crisis. Or let’s think about the cure for the virus: the large pharmaceutical companies are listened to more than the healthcare workers employed on the front lines in hospitals or in refugee camps. This is not a good path. Everyone should be listened to, those who are at the top and those who are at the bottom, everyone.

To emerge better from a crisis, the principle of subsidiarity must be enacted, respecting the autonomy and the capacity to take initiative that everyone has, especially the least. All the parts of the body are necessary, as St Paul says, we’ve heard that those parts that may seem the weakest and least important, in reality are the most necessary (see 1 Cor 12:22). In light of this image, we can say that the principle of subsidiarity allows everyone to assume his or her own role for the healing and destiny of society. Implementing it, implementing the principle of subsidiarity gives hope, gives hope in a healthier and more just future; let’s construct this future together, aspiring to greater things, broadening our horizons and ideals.[2] Either we do it together, or it won’t work. Or we work together to emerge from the crisis, all levels of society, or we will never emerge from it. It does not work that way. To emerge from the crisis does not mean to varnish over current situations so that they might appear more just. No. To emerge from the crisis means to change, and true change to which every contributes, all the persons that form a people. All the professions, all of them. And everything together, everyone in the community. If everyone is not contributing the result will be negative.

In a previous catechesis we saw how solidarity – solidarity now – is the way out of the crisis: it unites us and allows us to find solid proposals for a healthier world. But this path of solidarity needs subsidiarity. Someone might say to me: “But, Father, today you are saying difficult things!” It’s because of this that I am trying to explain what it means. Solidarity, because we are taking the path of subsidiarity. In fact, there is no true solidarity without social participation, without the contribution of intermediary bodies: families, associations, cooperatives, small businesses, and other expressions of society Everyone needs to contribute, everyone. This type of participation helps to prevent and to correct certain negative aspects of globalization and the actions of States, just as it is happening regarding the healing of people affected by the pandemic. These contributions “from the bottom” should be encouraged. How beautiful it is to see the volunteers during the crisis. The volunteers come from every part of society, volunteers who come from well-off families and those who come from poorer families. But everyone, everyone together to emerge. This is solidarity and this is the principle of subsidiarity.

During the lockdown, the spontaneous gesture of applauding, applause for doctors and nurses began as a sign of encouragement and hope. Many risked their lives and many gave their lives. Let’s extend this applause to every member of the social body, to each and every one, for their precious contribution, no matter how small. “But can that person over there do?” “Listen to that person! Give the person space to work, consult him or her.” Let’s applaud the “cast-aways”, those whom culture defines as those to be “thrown out”, this throw-away culture – that is, let’s applaud the elderly, children, persons with disability, let’s applaud workers, all those who dedicate themselves to service. Everyone collaborating to emerge from the crisis. But let’s not stop only at applauding. Hope is audacious, and so, let’s encourage ourselves to dream big. Brothers and sisters, let’s learn to dream big! Let’s not be afraid to dream big, seeking the ideals of justice and social love that are born of hope. Let’s not try to reconstruct the past, the past is the past, let’s look forward to new things. The Lord’s promise is: “I will make all things news”. Let’s encourage ourselves to dream big, seeking those ideals, not trying to reconstruct the past, above all the past that was unjust and already ill…. Let’s construct a future where the local and global dimensions mutually enrich each other – everyone can contribute, everyone must contribute their share, from their culture, from their philosophy, from their way of thinking – where the beauty and the wealth of smaller groups, even the groups that are cast aside, might flourish –because beauty is there too – and where those who have more dedicate themselves to service and give more to those who have less. Thank you.

[1] Message for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 (13 May 2020).
[2] See Discourse to students at the Fr. Félix Varela Cultural Center, Havana – Cuba, 20 September 2015.




Pope Francis    30.09.20 General Audience, San Damaso courtyard      Catechesis “Healing the world”: 9. Preparing the future together with Jesus who saves and heals

Hebrews 12: 1-2

Pope Francis Heal the World 30.09.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In recent weeks we have reflected together, in the light of the Gospel, on how to heal the world that is suffering from a malaise that the pandemic has highlighted and accentuated. The malaise was already there: the pandemic highlighted it more, it accentuated it. We have walked the paths of dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity, paths that are essential to promote human dignity and the common good. And as disciples of Jesus, we have proposed to follow in His steps, opting for the poor, rethinking the use of material goods and taking care of our common home. In the midst of the pandemic that afflicts us, we have anchored ourselves to the principles of the social doctrine of the Church, letting ourselves be guided by faith, by hope and by charity. Here we have found solid help so as to be transformers who dream big, who are not stopped by the meanness that divides and hurts, but who encourage the generation of a new and better world.

I hope this journey will not come to an end with this catechesis of mine, but rather that we may be able to continue to walk together, to “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus” (Heb 12:2), as we heard at the beginning; our eyes fixed on Jesus, who saves and heals the world. As the Gospel shows us, Jesus healed the sick of every type (see Mt 9:35), He gave sight to the blind, the word to the mute, hearing to the deaf. And when He cured diseases and physical infirmity, He also healed the spirit by forgiving sins, because Jesus always forgives, as well as “social pain” by including the marginalised (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1421). Jesus, who renews and reconciles every creature (see 2 Cor 5.17; Col 1:19-20), gives us the gifts necessary to love and heal as He knew how to do (see Lk 10:1-9; Jn 15:9-17), to take care of all without distinction on the basis of race, language or nation.

So that this may truly happen, we need to contemplate and appreciate the beauty of every human being and every creature. We were conceived in the heart of God (see Eph 1:3-5). “Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary”.[1] Furthermore, every creature has something to say to us about God the creator (see Encyclical Laudato si’, 69, 239). Acknowledging this truth and giving thanks for the intimate bonds in our universal communion with all people and all creatures activates “generous care, full of tenderness” (ibid., 220). And it also helps us to recognise Christ present in our poor and suffering brothers and sisters, to encounter them and to listen to their cry and the cry of the earth that echoes it (see ibid., 49).

Inwardly mobilised by these cries that demand of us another course (see ibid., 53), that demand we change, we will be able to contribute to the restoration of relations with our gifts and capacities (cf. ibid., 19). We will be able to regenerate society and not return to so-called “normality”, which is an ailing normality, which was ailing before the pandemic: the pandemic highlighted it! “Now we return to normality”: no, this will not do, because this normality was sick with injustice, inequality and environmental degradation. The normality to which we are called is that of the Kingdom of God, where “the blind see again, and the lame walk, those suffering from virulent skin-diseases are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” (Mt 11:5). And nobody plays dumb by looking the other way. This is what we have to do in order to change. In the normality of the Kingdom of God, there is bread for all and more to spare, social organisation is based on contributing, sharing and distributing, not on possessing, excluding and accumulating (see Mt 14:13-21).

The gesture that enables progress in a society, a family, a neighbourhood, or a city, all of them, is to give oneself, to give, which is not giving alms, but to give from the heart. A gesture that distances us from selfishness and the eagerness to possess. But the Christian way of doing this is not a mechanical way: it is a human way. We will never be able to emerge from the crisis that has been highlighted by the pandemic, mechanically, with new tools - which are very important, they allow us to move forward, and we must not be afraid of them - but knowing that even the most sophisticated means, able to do many things, are incapable of one thing: tenderness. And tenderness is the very sign of Jesus' presence. Approaching others in order to walk together, to heal, to help, to sacrifice oneself for others.

So it is important, that normality of the Kingdom of God: there is bread for everyone, social organisation is based on contributing, sharing and distributing, with tenderness; not on possessing, excluding and accumulating. Because at the end of life, we will not take anything with us into the other life!

A small virus continues to cause deep wounds and to expose our physical, social and spiritual vulnerabilities. It has laid bare the great inequality that reigns in the world: inequality of opportunity, inequality of goods, inequality of access to health care, inequality of technology, education: millions of children cannot go to school, and so the list goes on. These injustices are neither natural nor inevitable. They are the work of man, they come from a model of growth detached from the deepest values. Food waste: with that waste one can feed others. And this has made many people lose hope and has increased uncertainty and anguish. That is why, to come out of the pandemic, we must find the cure not only for the coronavirus - which is important! - but also for the great human and socio-economic viruses. They must not be concealed or whitewashed so they cannot be seen. And certainly we cannot expect the economic model that underlies unfair and unsustainable development to solve our problems. It has not and will not, because it cannot do so, even though some false prophets continue to promise the “trickle-down” that never comes.[2] You have heard yourselves, the theory of the glass: it is important that the glass is full, and then overflows to the poor and to others, and they receive wealth. But there is a phenomenon: the glass starts to fill up and when it is almost full it grows, it grows and it grows, and never overflows. We must be careful.

We need to set to work urgently to generate good policies, to design systems of social organisation that reward participation, care and generosity, rather than indifference, exploitation and particular interests. We must go ahead with tenderness. A fair and equitable society is a healthier society. A participatory society - where the “last” are taken into account just like the “first” - strengthens communion. A society where diversity is respected is much more resistant to any kind of virus.

Let us place this healing journey under the protection of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Health. May she, who carried Jesus in her womb, help us to be trustful. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, we can work together for the Kingdom of God that Christ inaugurated in this world by coming among us. It is a Kingdom of light in the midst of darkness, of justice in the midst of so many outrages, of joy in the midst of so much pain, of healing and of salvation in the midst of sickness and death, of tenderness in the midst of hatred. May God grant us to “viralise" love and to “globalise” hope in the light of faith.

[1] Benedict XVI, Homily for the beginning of the Petrine ministry (24 April 2005); see Encyclical Laudato si’, 65.
[2] “Trickle-down effect” in English, “derrame” in Spanish (see Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 54).