Science and solidarity needed to stop pandemic

A worker wearing a protective suit in disinfects a bus station in Algiers, Algeria, on March 16. Photo: CNS/Reuters

VATICAN (CNS): The effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can be defeated only with a combination of science and solidarity, said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

“An emergency like Covid-19 is fought especially with the antibodies of solidarity,” Archbishop Paglia said.

“The technical and clinical measures for containment must be integrated with a vast and profound complicity for the common good, avoiding the tendency to choose advantages for the privileged to the detriment of the vulnerable based on citizenship, income, politics or age,” he said.

The archbishop’s comments were released on March 17 as members of the academy continued work on a document titled, Coronavirus and Human Fraternity.

The most important attitude for stopping the pandemic, he said, is to see other people as allies, “otherwise the community evaporates and I, too, am lost.”

The archbishop said, “The ‘other’ is the person who walks by and greets me from a metre away because he is safeguarding me and himself,” adding that, “I, too, am staying home and respecting the indications of health care officials, acting for the common good to ensure that all of us together can get out of this emergency as soon as possible.”

The technical and clinical measures for containment must be integrated with a vast and profound complicity for the common good, avoiding the tendency to choose advantages for the privileged to the detriment of the vulnerable based on citizenship, income, politics or age”

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia

But Archbishop Paglia also asked people to think about what they are doing to stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus and the lessons they could hold for the future when life returns to normal.

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“Let’s not forget the experience of these difficult weeks and the profound meaning of limitations on our movements: We are making sacrifices for ourselves and others,” he said.

Recognising that all people are members of one human family and understanding what it means to be a community should not just be a matter of calculating risks or advantages, he said. 

“Christianity, from its origin, has understood universal fraternity and interpreted it as responsible closeness among human beings,” the archbishop said.

But, clearly, the pandemic has shown the connection between all people and should lead to a “strengthening of the social logic of mutual help,” he continued.

“The world is interconnected, and the sooner we understand that, the sooner we will be a true global community,” Archbishop Paglia said.

“The sacrifices we are making point us to the path of solidarity and brotherhood among all human beings without distinction,” he said

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