Pope Francis spent about 20 minutes inter-acting with the faithful present at the general audience this morning in the Vatican’s San Damaso courtyard. Guests were seated in two marked-off areas that allowed for the proper social distance seating, although when the Pope went around to greet people, everyone briefly moved closer together. He continued his catechesis on healing the world in a pandemic era.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” began the Holy Father, “good morning! The crisis we are living due to the pandemic is affecting everyone; we will emerge from it for the better if we all seek the common good together; the contrary is we will emerge for the worse.

“Unfortunately,” he noted, “we see partisan interests emerging. For example, some would like to appropriate possible solutions for themselves, as in the case of vaccines, to then sell them to others. Some are taking advantage of the situation to instigate divisions: by seeking economic or political advantages, generating or exacerbating conflicts. Others simply are not interesting themselves in the suffering of others, they pass by and go their own way They are the devotees of Pontius Pilate, washing their hands of others’ suffering.”

The Pope admitted that politics often has a bad reputation, and perhaps not without reason. A “good politics is possible,” though, he insisted, when it “puts the human person and the common good at the centre of its duty.” This calls for everyone, but especially those with social and political commitments and duties, to root their actions “in ethical principles,” and nourish them “with social and political love.”

Pope Francis explained that, “the Christian response to the pandemic and to the consequent socio-economic crisis is based on love, above all, love of God who always precedes us. He loves us first. He always precedes us in love and in solutions. He loves us unconditionally and when we welcome this divine love, then we can respond similarly. I love not only those who love me – my family, my friends, my group – but I also love those who do not love me, I also love those who do not know me or who are strangers, and even those who make me suffer or whom I consider enemies.

“This is Christian wisdom,” said Francis, speaking off the cuff at times, “this is how Jesus acted. And the highest point of holiness, let’s put it that way, is to love one’s enemies, which is not easy, it is not easy. Certainly, to love everyone, including enemies, is difficult – I would say it is even an art! But an art that can be learned and improved. True love that makes us fruitful and free is always expansive, and true love is not only expansive, it is inclusive. This love cares, heals and does good. How many times a caress does more good than many arguments, a caress, we can think, of pardon instead of many arguments to defend oneself. It is inclusive love that heals.

“So, love is not limited to the relationship between two or three people, or to friends or to family, it goes beyond. It comprises civil and political relationships (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, including a relationship with nature. Love is inclusive, everything.

Pope Francis concluded: “The coronavirus is showing us that each person’s true good is a common good, not only individual, and, vice versa, the common good is a true good for the person. If a person only seeks his or her own good, that person is egotistical. Instead, the person is kinder, nobler, when his or her own good is open to everyone, when it is shared. Health, in addition to being an individual good, is also a public good. A healthy society is one that takes care of everyone’s health, of all.


As the world celebrates the first International Day to Protect Education from Attack on Wednesday, Pope Francis appealed to the international community to ensure educational structures are protected from attacks.

Vatican News

“I invite you to pray for students who are seriously deprived of the right to education due to war and terrorism,” he said during his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in the Vatican.

“I urge the international community to do its utmost so that the structures that must protect young students be respected,” he said, speaking in Italian.  “May efforts that guarantee safe environments for their education not wain, above all in situations of humanitarian crises,” he added.

Did you know?
– More than 22,000 students, teachers, and academics were injured, killed, or harmed in attacks on education during armed conflict or insecurity over the past five years.

– Between 2015 and 2019, 93 countries experienced at least one reported attack on education.

– Students and educators were most frequently harmed by direct attacks in Afghanistan, Cameroon, and Palestine.

–   Armed forces, other state actors, and armed groups used schools and universities for military purposes in 34 countries between 2015 and 2019, including as bases, detention centers, and weapons stores.

– In the past five years, state armed forces or armed groups reportedly recruited students from schools in 17 countries.   (Source: Education under Attack 2020)