Pope Francis in a deserted St. Peter’s Square as he pronounces a special “Urbi et Orbi” blessing in response to the health emergency triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic


© Reuters / Yara Nardi / Pool

A peste, fame et bello, libera nos Domine! “From pestilence, famine and war, deliver us, O Lord!”... this evocation has resounded in churches since the Middle Ages in the face of the advance of an invisible “enemy”. Medieval wisdom sensed that epidemics lead to poverty and this in turn can generate conflict. There is unfortunately a real risk of seeing the dominoes fall in this order. But the emergence of Covid-19 has again taught us the leaps forward we are able to make when we face difficulties in a spirit of cooperation.
The Church’s prayer in front of an unnaturally deserted St Peter’s Square is yet another sign that this event will go down in history. It is legitimate to ask ourselves what different criteria we should adopt from now on to protect the environment and thus ourselves. In 2015, Pope Francis promulgated the encyclical Laudato si': On Care for our Common Home, in which he reminds us that the environment is a collective gift, the heritage of the whole human race. It must therefore be managed with the aim of passing the resources on to posterity, rather than perpetuating short-sighted depletion.

Alberto Claudio Alvisi