In Covid-suppressed Christmas message, Pope calls on nations to share vaccines

Pope Francis greets during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican on October 14, 2020.

Alberto Pizzoli | AFP | Getty Images

VATICAN CITY – In his Christmas message on Friday, Pope Francis said political and business leaders must not allow market forces and patent laws to take precedence over making Covid 19 vaccines available to all , condemning nationalism and “the virus of radical individualism”.

In a sign of the times, Francis delivered his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message practically from a lectern inside the Vatican rather than from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica in front of dozens. of thousands.

The pandemic and its social and economic effects dominated the message, in which Francis called for global unity and aid to nations suffering from conflict and humanitarian crises.

“At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and the serious economic and social imbalances which are only aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to recognize ourselves as brothers and sisters” , did he declare.

Stressing that health is an international problem, he appeared to criticize so-called “vaccine nationalism,” which UN officials fear will make the pandemic worse if poor countries receive the vaccine last.

“I urge everyone, heads of state, businesses and international organizations to promote cooperation and not competition, to find a solution for all – vaccines for all – especially for the most vulnerable and needy in all regions of the planet, ”he said.

“The most vulnerable and needy must come first,” he said, in the Vatican Hall of Blessings, with only about 50 Vatican workers wearing masks sitting along the long walls.

Radical individualism

“We cannot put ourselves before others, by putting market forces and patent laws before the laws of love and the health of mankind,” he said. “We cannot let closed nationalisms prevent us from living as the true human family that we are.”

Francois also appeared to criticize people who refused to wear masks because it violates their freedom, an attitude that has spread in countries like the United States.

“And neither can we allow the virus of radical individualism to triumph over us and make us indifferent to the suffering of other brothers and sisters,” he said.

Italians are stranded nationwide for much of the Christmas and New Years holiday period. Restrictions mean people cannot travel to St. Peter’s Square or the Basilica for papal events , all of which have been moved inside.

Christmas is first and foremost a time to help others because Jesus himself was born a poor outcast, Francis said Thursday evening during his Christmas Eve Mass, which started two hours earlier so the few attendees could return home. time before the 10pm curfew.

<< May the child of Bethlehem help us, then, to be generous, united and helpful, in particular towards the vulnerable, the sick, the unemployed or those in difficulty due to the economic effects of the pandemic and the women who have been victims of domestic violence during these months of lockdown, ”he said in his speech on Friday.

He then called for peace and reconciliation in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Sudan, Nigeria and Cameroon and Iraq, which he is due to visit in early March.

He also called for comfort to those suffering from humanitarian crises or natural disasters in Burkina Fasso, Mali, Niger, the Philippines and Vietnam.

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