Pope: to emerge from this crisis we must no longer only listen to the powerful

“Multinational companies are listened to more than social movements”. “Or let's also think about how to treat the virus: the big pharmaceutical companies are listened to more than the health workers, working on the front line in hospitals or refugee camps. This is not the right way ”. “Everyone must have the opportunity to assume their responsibility in the healing processes of the society to which they belong”.


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - To emerge better from this crisis, "which is a health crisis and at the same time a social, political and economic crisis", the principle of subsidiarity must be applied, which allows all people to be heard.

Giving everyone the opportunity to express their ideas to tackle problems was the topic of Pope Francis’ general audience this Wednesday, in which he condemned the fact that "the powerful are listened to more than the weak”.

“Let us think - he said 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. Thus, we do not permit people to be “agents in their own redemption”.[1] 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. 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."

Arriving in the San Damaso courtyard, Francis spent a long time passing among the 500 people present, all with masks and clearly careful not to touch the Pope, even though very close. Francis blessed rosaries, religious images and other objects that people brought with them, signed photos, books and even 4 tennis balls and received sweets that two faithful offered him, exchanged jokes. And he began his catechesis with "it seems that the weather is not so good, but I will wish you good morning anyway". During the  audience in fact, a little rain fell at times.

In his audience, Francis affirmed that in order to emerge from a crisis like the present one better, “every one of us is called to assume responsibility for his or her part. 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, 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. 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. 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).”.

Francis recalled that Pius XI already “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. 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 progresss. 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."

"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).”

“Everyone needs to have the possibility of assuming responsibility in the process of healing the society of which he or she is a part. When a project is launched that directly or indirectly touches certain social groups, these groups cannot be left out from participating; their wisdom 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”.

The principle of subsidiarity, on the other hand, “allows everyone to assume their role in the care and destiny of society. Implementing it gives hope for a healthier and more just future; and we build this future together, aspiring to greater things, broadening our horizons and ideals. Either together or it doesn't work. Either we work together or we will not get out of the crisis. And going out doesn't mean giving a brushstroke, it means changing ”.

“In a previous catechesis we saw how solidarity 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. 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. 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.”

"During the lockdown, the spontaneous gesture of applauding for doctors and nurses began as a sign of encouragement and hope. Let’s extend this applause to every member of the social body, for their precious contribution, no matter how small. Let’s applaud the elderly, children, persons with disability, workers, all those who dedicate themselves to service. But let’s not stop only at applauding. Hope is audacious, and so, let’s encourage ourselves to dream big, seeking the ideals of justice and social love that are born of hope. Let’s not try 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, where the beauty and the wealth of smaller groups might flourish, and where those who have more dedicate themselves to service and give more to those who have less."

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