05/12/2020, 11.15
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Card Bo: Covid-19 'perfect storm', to be lived with hope, imagination, intelligence

In a letter to the Catholics of Asia, the cardinal stressed that the pandemic is a possibility for rethinking lifestyles. Adherence to the day of prayer on May 14. The pandemic has not stopped weapons and violence. Real leaders are needed, able to take advantage of opportunities to build trust and enter a new world.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - The Covid-19 pandemic is "a perfect storm", which offers the possibility of rethinking ways and lifestyles, although to date the most affected are always poor and "hungry" migrants who "cannot isolate themselves, they have no water to wash, they have lost jobs and income,” writes Cardinal Charles Maung Bo.

The Archbishop of Yangon has sent a letter inviting the faithful of the Asian continent to "live a crisis with hope", as the title says. For the Burmese cardinal, in fact, it is time to broaden "imagination and intelligence" to "learn in a new way" and prepare for a world that has "changed".

The cardinal and president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC) joins the day of prayer called by the High Committee for Human Fraternity scheduled for 14 May. " In most countries of Asia we live now under restrictions. Schools are closed, factories are closed, markets are running out of stock, travel is forbidden. Yet with unbelievable, obscene folly, conflicts continue. Military commanders of government and ethnic armies, as if they believe that their weapons are more powerful than this virus, continue to expose their soldiers, continuously endanger civilians, and risk a conflagration of contagion among the people of their nations."

In Myanmar, a nation bent over years of ethnic and religious violence, the alarm is high for a possible escalation of the new coronavirus pandemic, despite the official numbers still contained with 180 cases registered so far and six victims. According to experts, a spread would have disastrous effects risking a healthcare catastrophe.

The Archbishop of Yangon describes this context as "a via Crucis of humanity and challenge for faith" which was caused by the failings of the Chinese Communist Party identified as the main "culprit" of the pandemic while the people are the first victims .

The continent has had to experience various calamities in recent years, including wars, conflicts and endless crises, tsunamis, cyclone Nargis and frequent typhoons with devastating effects. The emergency "will not end", warns the cardinal, but if so far none of these "has changed us" this time the situation is different. “A catastrophe - he warns - that affects 200 nations changes the world. It's like a world war "and the consequences will remain" for decades ".

The Burmese cardinal therefore turns to the political and ruling class, which in a crisis of these proportions must show "real leaders" capable of exploiting "their opportunities to build trust". “We are - he continues - in the face of an epochal change characterized by fear, xenophobia and racism. Populist leaders emerge today in many countries. The antidote to populism consists in the efforts of organized citizens who are ready to promote the experience of 'we', which is opposed to self-worship. " There will be no return to the premiere and our lives "will not resume as if nothing had happened".

"This is time for patience, energy, intelligence" and "preparing for a new world" in which we must realize what we depend on "one another and learn to work collectively and collaboratively, sharing responsibility and appreciating solidarity”. And above all, he warns, to "put aside hatred and weapons" in front of a "common enemy that is attacking all humanity".

Across Asia many people are wounded, physically and emotionally, financially and spiritually. To deal with the emergency, the Burmese Church has "generously" activated itself to meet needs. Card Bo concludes his reflection by citing a reflection by the Indian writer Arundhati Roy, according to which Covid-19 is a "portal", a door, a moment of rupture between a time that was before and a new one [...], a world where the dignity of every person is recognized. Are we ready to enter this new world? ".




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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”