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In World Peace Day message, Pope Francis asks ‘what did we learn from the pandemic’

Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican Dec. 14, 2022. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Vatican City, Dec 16, 2022 / 07:00 am (CNA).

In a message sent to heads of state across the world, Pope Francis has asked leaders to reflect on what lessons can be learned three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vatican released on Dec. 16 the pope’s 2023 World Peace Day message in which he posed a series of questions:

“What did we learn from the pandemic? What new paths should we follow to cast off the shackles of our old habits, to be better prepared, to dare new things? What signs of life and hope can we see, to help us move forward and try to make our world a better place?”

Pope Francis wrote in the message that “certainly after directly experiencing the fragility of our own lives … the greatest lesson we learned from COVID-19 was the realization that we all need one another.”

He added: “We also learned that the trust we put in progress, technology, and the effects of globalization was not only excessive but turned into an individualistic and idolatrous intoxication, compromising the very promise of justice, harmony, and peace that we so ardently sought.”

The pope underscored that “in our fast-paced world, the widespread problems of inequality, injustice, poverty, and marginalization continue to fuel unrest and conflict, and generate violence and even wars.”

“We cannot continue to focus simply on preserving ourselves; rather, the time has come for all of us to endeavor to heal our society and our planet, to lay the foundations for a more just and peaceful world, and to commit ourselves seriously to pursuing a good that is truly common,” he said.

The World Day of Peace — instituted by St. Paul VI in 1968 — is celebrated each year on Jan. 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. The message is sent by the Vatican Secretariat of State to governments around the world.

The pope’s message for the 2023 World Day of Peace, the 56th celebration, is entitled “No one can be saved alone: Combatting COVID-19 together, embarking together on paths of peace.”

In the text, Pope Francis included one paragraph about the ongoing war in Ukraine, which he described as “a setback for the whole of humanity.”

“At the very moment when we dared to hope that the darkest hours of the COVID-19 pandemic were over, a terrible new disaster befell humanity. We witnessed the onslaught of another scourge: another war, to some extent like that of COVID-19, but driven by culpable human decisions … Clearly, this is not the post-COVID era we had hoped for or expected,” Pope Francis said.

The pope also noted: “While a vaccine has been found for COVID-19, suitable solutions have not yet been found for the war.”

At a Dec. 16 Vatican press conference presenting the pope’s text, Cardinal Michael Czerny repeated the pope’s question: “What have we learned from COVID?”

The Canadian cardinal, who serves as the prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, offered his own reflection on how the pandemic was handled.

Czerny said: “The world needed a well-supported international plan to deal with the pandemic. That was utterly lacking. Instead, massive misinformation, finger-pointing, false claims, and panic-mongering prevailed; while decision-makers gave higher priority to the claims of patent- holders than to people’s needs around the world.”

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  1. For everyone, life is short and sweet. Unfortunately leaders are taking bold decisions against themselves. Genuine peace adds life to our life span. Long live peace worldwide.

  2. Bergoglio has no lessons to impart to us regarding the pandemic. On the long list of crimes and offenses he has committed against the Church, faithful and the world, this has to rank fairly high. He was an enthusiastic proponent of the terribly useless and destructive and lockdowns and masking mandates. Then he had the audacity to declare receiving the experimental and, likely dangerous, Covid vaccine to be a universal moral obligation. As he has on so many other issues, he fully aligned himself and the prestige of the Catholic Church with the evil globalist political and economic cabal that is attempting to impose a worldwide tyranny. I would say that one lesson that we could draw from era is that Francis is an enemy to be resisted, but that was clear long before “coronavirus” entered the common parlance.

    • Orthodox Catholics prefer hard-hitting truth like Tony’s to the passive-aggressive nonsense rolling off bifurcated lips and tongues of apostatic men on the payroll of the Church.

      Just like VCII, the pandemic happened. Sinful men know nothing of the mind or the will or the love of God. Does Francis condescend to mention Him in the New Year message about war?

    • Agreed, Tony. Bergoglio is all about promoting the “evil globalist political and economic cabal,” as you pit it — i.e., leftism.

      Another lesson: the faithful have pitifully few faithful shepherds they can trust.

    • ” experimental and, likely dangerous, Covid vaccine ”

      Not to mention that the vaccines were made using cells derived from aborted babies in research and development.

      • The fact of the evil ways employed in production does not make the vaccine being EVIL ITSELF. To the challenge that ITS USE implies a cooperation in an evil production one may reply that the cooperation varries in the degree and circumstances, may not be evil in all cases. I would also add that the life itself is the greatest gift of God, and we must not neglect this gift. A failure to protect our helth is the greatest evil we could commit if unreasonably exposing ourselves to infection.

      • I suppose the one benefit of the whole Covid outbreak was learning how many vaccines, pharmaceuticals, over the counter drugs, food products, etc. have been created, researched, or tested at some point on fetal cell lines.
        Sometimes the best you can do is to try to choose those with the least approximate connection to evil because otherwise you may have to avoid pretty much every part of modern medicine.
        Sadly, every university medical research lab, including Catholic institutions, makes use of these cell lines. It’s a universal problem and not unique to Covid vaccines.

  3. This is very easily answered.

    The response to the pandemic satisfied my curiosity about how the populace of Germany could so easily be hoodwinked into particpating either actively or by their silence in the genocide of 6,000,000 Jews and others. It tellingly illustrates how powerful agents of the government can intimidate individuals into relinquishing the use of their reason and suspend their conscience to commit heinous atrocities.

  4. A very blessed 86th birthday to our beloved Holy Father – the Octave of his birthday is Christmas … 🙂 ? may be related to line of St.Francis and his Christmas connection ..
    the message of Peace above – much like that of the Christ Child in
    The Womb as narrated in the Christmas Novena of Luisa – telling us his lowly, often ungrateful children that He wants our company ..His immense sufferings in Love for us . Noteworthy that the Pope Emer. Benedict also a devotee of St.Hanibale who promoted the Novena-

    A theme of catechesis based on above – adoring the unborn Baby Jesus with all , to be thus set free from the wounds that are manifesting ever more vicioulsy , as fear and contempt for life in our times with all related confusions … laws that condone that desperation ..

    Read the good news about the millions who came to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe this year .. loving and adoring The Baby too ..may same serve as the antidote for the trials and troubles of our times – as we too often echo – ‘Blessed is The Fruit of thy Womb Jesus’ – consoling and being consoled ..

    seems that theme too is hidden in the words of blessing from the Holy Father ..

    Blessings !

  5. 2000 years ago, when The Son of God was born in Bethlehem of Judea, Herod was King, and Caiphas was High Priest.

    These days seem analogous regarding state and church.

    • What an apt comparison. And among Herod, Caiphas and Pilate, it was Christ who got caught in the squeeze. And in 2022 it’s still the same. Different players but the same ole game.

  6. Pope Francis has nothing to teach to any Christian. His globalist messages alternate from indifference to the teaching of Christ to outright hostility.

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