Science-solidarity combo needed to stop pandemic, says Vatican official

People in London’s Leicester Square sit next to a staue of Mr. Bean March 17, 2020. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said March 17 that the effects of the coronavirus can be defeated only with a combination of science and solidarity. (CNS photo/Dylan Martinez, Reuters)

By Cindy Wooden 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The effects of the coronavirus can be defeated only with a combination of science and solidarity, said the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

“An emergency like COVID-19 is fought especially with the antibodies of solidarity,” said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the academy.

“The technical and clinical measures for containment must be integrated with a vast and profound complicity for the common good, avoiding the tendency to choose advantages for the privileged to the detriment of the vulnerable based on citizenship, income, politics or age,” he said.

The archbishop’s comments were released March 17 as members of the academy continued work on a document titled, “Coronavirus and Human Fraternity.”

The most important attitude for stopping the pandemic, he said, is to see other people as allies, “otherwise the community evaporates and I, too, am lost.”

“The ‘other’ is the person who walks by and greets me from a meter away because he is safeguarding me and himself,” the archbishop said. “I, too, am staying home and respecting the indications of health care officials, acting for the common good to ensure that all of us together can get out of this emergency as soon as possible.”

But Archbishop Paglia also asked people to think about what they are doing to stop the spread of the coronavirus and the lessons they could hold for the future when life returns to normal.

“Let’s not forget the experience of these difficult weeks and the profound meaning of limitations on our movements: We are making sacrifices for ourselves and others,” he said.

Recognizing that all people are members of one human family and understanding what it means to be a community should not just be a matter of calculating risks or advantages, he said. “Christianity, from its origin, has understood universal fraternity and interpreted it as responsible closeness among human beings.”

But, clearly, he said, the pandemic has shown the connection between all people and should lead to a “strengthening of the social logic of mutual help.”

“The world is interconnected, and the sooner we understand that, the sooner we will be a true global community,” he said. “The sacrifices we are making point us to the path of solidarity and brotherhood among all human beings without distinction.”

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