Days after the World Health Organization declared the spread of the coronavirus around the world already a pandemic, Italian Vaticanist Domenico Agasso, reporter for the newspaper La Stampa and coordinator of the Vatican Insider site, called on Pope Francis .
At the other end of the line, the pontiff tried to reassure him. “Here we cry and suffer. All. All of humanity is suffering and we can only get out of this situation with united humanity. “
The interview was published on March 20, 2020. Since then there have been numerous messages, documents and public demonstrations in which Francis has sought to outline the pillars of the reconstruction of the world, using the foundations of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church and seek ways to reconcile, at least in theory, social justice, preservation of the environment and dignity for all.
Throughout this period, Agasso maintains frequent dialogues with the Pope. “We thought of a book to be published later, without over-emphasizing the dramatic present weather, looking at the horizon beyond the health storm, trying to help rebuild the Covid rubble accumulated in the ruins caused by injustices and inequalities, ”he told the Vaticanist to Folha.
The result of these conversations, during a few personal meetings and several phone calls, can be found in the book “Deus eo Mundo que Virá” (publisher Planeta). Agasso, a graduate in political science, is the author of other works on Catholicism, including “Advice from a friendly pope: words of Pope Francis that help people to live better” and “Paul VI: the Saint of modernity” . The performance as a Vaticanist comes from the family. His grandfather, whose name he inherited, was one of the pioneers of papal cover: he accompanied Paulo 6th (1897-1978), the first pope to travel by plane, on his excursions. He died in January at the age of 99.
The pandemic forced Francisco to live in isolation in 2020. How did it affect him? In the most tragic days of Covid, last year, he recited the Angelus and held the general audience in the Apostolic Palace library. He said he was in a cage. A year later, on the plane back from Baghdad in March, he said going to Iraq was like living again. But I saw no discouragement in the Pope. On the contrary, he seems more enthusiastic and stronger to move forward in pastoral care closer to the people.
In the book, Francisco talks about the importance of “solidarity antibodies”. This is not the only analogy he makes with the virus. What is the key to understanding these messages? Pope Francis invites us to fight against the virus of indifference and selfishness that has placed the planet a few steps from devastation. And he urges us to start afresh from a conscience that can no longer be denied: “Both for good and for evil, the consequences of our actions always fall on others”.
Therefore, only the generosity of men is the path to a renewed coexistence in good. Because, recalls the Pope, “life is always together”, which is why solidarity and fraternity are essential. Thinking alone to progress is illusory: individualism makes us fall to pieces. Instead, says the pontiff, “if we take care of each other, we can all live better”.
Has the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic made the so-called “Francisco economy” more urgent? The difficult economic situation is linked to the purpose of financial investments. The hope is that they aim for the common good, social ethics and protection of the environment. The Pope indicates the four criteria for choosing companies to support: the inclusion of the excluded, the promotion of minorities, concern for the common good and concern for creation. Francisco claims that it is necessary to remove the “dominant speculative mentality” from the financial world, to restore it “with a soul”, according to the criteria of justice, in order to reduce and eliminate inequalities concretely. For the Pontiff, a spirit of communion is necessary to allow the creation of inclusive, ecological and sustainable economic models.
Despite the gestures full of messages, Francisco appeared several times, even before the vaccines, without a mask. Isn’t that absurd? In the darkest days of the pandemic, in March and April 2020, Francisco was always surrounded by an anti-restraint cord, thus being able to work and carry out his work of proximity, comfort and encouragement to people. traumatized by the pandemic. Before the vaccine, which he received in January, he sometimes did not wear a mask … But he always kept a distance from the people he met, being able to express his energy, his affection and his encouragement also through his face and her smile. But there were many occasions when the mask was used.
How do you analyze Francisco’s position in the face of extremist advances, in particular deniers? He does not let himself be influenced. [Francisco] read everything, listen to everyone and try to synthesize it, following the line drawn, without worrying too much about extremists. The Pope expects and preaches common commitments and responsibilities, shared by all parties: politicians, businessmen, workers, social leaders, ordinary citizens, families, religious leaders… For Francis, everyone should sit down. the same table, ready for proactive dialogues, sharing ideas and projects, free of personal interests and free from slanderous campaigns.
But even within the Catholic Church, there is a conservative line that has taken a stand against vaccines, due to the fact that the cell lines used to develop immunizers were originally from human embryos. How does Francis stand as a voice for the defense of science, while opposing Catholic fundamentalists? The Pope recalled, in several appeals, that it is necessary to guarantee universal access to the vaccine and the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights. The Pope finds an ecclesiastical alliance between the Catholic Church and preventive care to prevent epidemics. As the website of the Holy See reminds us, in 1822 [o cientista inglês que inventou a vacina contra a varíola] Edward Jenner, the father of modern vaccination, was still alive when a mass vaccination campaign was carried out in the papal state then led by Pius 7.
And for those who doubted the ethical and Christian aspect of the immunizer, Francis approved a note from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that gave the green light to vaccines produced from cell lines of two aborted fetuses in the 1960s. Document says it’s “morally acceptable” [fazer uso do imunizante], asserting that in this era of pandemic “all vaccines recognized as clinically safe and effective can be used with the certainty that they do not mean formal cooperation with the abortion from which the cells with which the vaccines were produced “are derived. At the same time, the Pope generally believes that science, like new technologies, must be at the service of humanity, and never as a threat.
What is Francisco’s big message for this moment? [Ele anuncia] the pillars on which the societies devastated by the epidemic must be rebuilt: hope, ecology and solidarity. It calls for a model of sustainable development. Encourage young people to continue, even in these difficult times, to strive to achieve their dreams. With one certainty, above all: even if there are times when God seems to have abandoned us, in reality “God is with us, he is close to us and, at the right time, he will reach out to save us”.
A graduate in political science, he is the author of other works on Catholicism, including “ The advice of a friendly pope: the words of Pope Francis that help to live better ” and “ Paul VI: the saint of modernity ”