On March 30th, more than 80 religious leaders from across Canada sent out a common message of hope, gratitude and solidarity to all Canadians in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The message calls us to “witness hope to each other and so become beacons of light during these uncertain times” and expresses gratitude to all health care and other front-line workers as well as to religious and political leaders. The religious leaders emphasize “This is a time for human solidarity” and that greater attention needs to be given to the most vulnerable including the homeless, the incarcerated, Indigenous Peoples, refugees and our global neighbours with fewer resources to face this crisis.
Pope Francis delivered an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing in a livestreamed prayer service on March 27th for the end of COVID-19. He called us to embrace hope and practice solidarity, stating “We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”
Two days later the Pope joined UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in calling for a global ceasefire in support of efforts to deal with COVID-19 among the more vulnerable. Cardinal Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis, echoed the Pope’s appeal and also urged wealthy nations to forgive the financial debts of poor countries so that they could use their dwindling resources to support their communities. The UN is also calling for debt cancellation for distressed developing countries as an act of international solidarity. Over 100 organizations have joined this call.
The Pontifical Academies of Sciences and of Social Sciences called for strengthening solidarity and changing priorities after COVID-19, stating “Global problems such as pandemics or the less visible crises of global climate change and biodiversity loss demand global cooperative responses. We must take into account the relationships between human activities, global ecology and livelihoods. Once COVID-19 is under control, we cannot go back to business as usual…. A more responsible, more sharing, more equalitarian, more caring and fairer society is required if we are to survive.”