THE president of Caritas Internationalis called on governments to ensure access to healthcare and social protections for all amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said it was time for world leaders to “rise to the challenge” to promote unity and shared responsibility.
“The pandemic is making the suffering of vulnerable people — migrants and refugees, the elderly, the sick, the poor and unemployed — even deeper. We urge our governments to ensure access to healthcare and social protection for everyone – particularly the most vulnerable,” Tagle wrote in an Easter message published on the Caritas Internationalis website.
“Can our governments admit that many of them got it wrong when they didn’t allow everyone to belong to the human family in a dignified way? Can our societies put aside economic concerns and show that they care for everyone without exception?” he asked.
Tagle said he saw signs of hope in changes that had occurred as a result of the pandemic, temporarily resolving certain global problems that previously had seemed insoluble.
“Changes that would have been unthinkable three months ago are actually happening: air quality has improved in a number of countries and warring parties in some others have called ceasefires. In the midst of loss, uncertainty and suffering, something incredible is happening: we are noticing the bonds which form our human family. Bonds that we previously took for granted or ignored,” he noted.
The prelate pointed out that living in isolation has made everyone marginalized and vulnerable, but the global suffering is making the people see that they need other people and other people needed them too.
“It is as though the stone that covers the tomb is slowly being rolled back to allow a light of recognition. This light heralds Easter and the Risen Christ,” he stressed.
Tagle thanked the Caritas staff and volunteers who are taking care of those affected by the coronavirus in a coordinated global effort to aid the sick and the vulnerable.
Caritas Internationalis is the umbrella organization that coordinates and gathers 165 local Catholic charities all over the world. The Caritas network is overseen by the Vatican’s dicastery for Integral Human Development, which must act in coordination with the Secretariat of State.
“Death does not have the final say when you make space for hope,” Tagle also said.