The Pope’s new e book addresses the COVID disaster and past

(RNS) – Pope Francis agrees with former Chicago mayor and Obama administration adviser Rahm Emanuel that a crisis is a terrible waste. While Emanuel sees crises as political opportunities, Francis sees them as spiritual challenges.

“The basic rule of a crisis is that you don’t get out of it right away,” explains Francis in “Let’s Dream: The Road to a Better Future,” his new book, published December 1st. “If you can do it.” , you come out better or worse, but never the same. “

In a crisis the Pope wrote: “You reveal your own heart: how firm it is, how merciful, how big or small.”

The COVID-19 crisis “has generated new courage and new compassion,” he writes. Some have responded with a desire to redefine our world. others have come to the aid of those in need in concrete ways to change the suffering of our neighbors. “

According to Francis, the pandemic has produced martyrs, “men and women who have given their lives in service of those most in need”. But it has also exposed usurers and payday lenders who have been chasing the suffering of others.

It is not only individuals who are affected by the COVID crisis, but also governments who have to decide: “Which is more important: to take care of people or to keep the financial system running?” Asks the Pope. “Do we care about people or do we sacrifice them for the stock market?”

Francis notes that the pandemic isn’t the only crisis the world is facing. There are “a thousand other crises just as bad” as “wars scattered across different parts of the world; the production and trade of arms; of the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing poverty, hunger and lack of opportunity; of climate change. “

“Let us dream: the way to a better future” by Pope Francis. Image courtesy

But Francis does not want the world “to return to the false securities of political and economic systems that we had before the crisis”.

He argues, “It is an illusion to believe that we can go back to where we were. Attempts at restoration always lead us to a dead end. “

Rather, “this is a moment to dream big, rethink our priorities – what we value, what we want, what we seek.”

This dreaming, he writes, requires that we “slow down, take stock and develop better ways of living together on this earth”.

Francis believes that this must lead to “policies that can integrate and engage with the poor, excluded and vulnerable, that give people a say in decisions that affect their lives.”

The economy is at the center of these efforts. “We have to transform the economy in such a way that it offers everyone access to a dignified existence while protecting and regenerating the natural world.”

He complains that “a fixation on constant economic growth has become destabilizing, creating great inequalities and unbalancing the natural world”. In response to the last recession, governments spent billions of dollars to bail out banks and financial markets, and people suffered a decade of austerity.

In order to arrive at this new politics and economy, we have to “reject the fallacy of making individualism the organizational principle of society”.

As if speaking for young people on the streets of America, he claims: “We need a movement of people who know we need one another, who have a sense of responsibility towards others and the world.”

He admits that “working for the common good are major goals in life that require courage and strength.”

While the modern era has been determined to promote equality and freedom, today there is a need “to focus on brotherhood with the same drive and tenacity to face the challenges ahead”.

The first step in finding this new world is to “open your eyes and let the suffering around you touch you so that you can hear the Spirit of God speaking to you from the edges.” Indifference blocks the mind as it waits to offer us opportunities that flood our mental schemas and categories.

We must also recognize that everything we have is an undeserved gift from God and reject “the myth of self-sufficiency.” This way of thinking leads us to believe that “the earth exists to be pillaged; that others exist to meet our needs; what we deserve or what we lack is what we deserve; that my reward is wealth, even if that means that the fate of others will be poverty. “

On the other hand, the gratitude that comes from realizing that we have only undeserved gifts will lead us to embrace “a culture of service, not a throwaway culture.”

As he explains, “The harm to our planet results from the loss of this awareness of gratitude.” If we look closely, we see that humanity, along with our common home, our environment and creation, is getting sicker and sicker.

For Francis it is important that we overcome individualism and seek the common good. “The common good is the good in which we all share,” he explains, “the good of people as a whole and the common good that we should have for everyone.”

When society loses its concern for the common good, it is in trouble. “As soon as people lose their sense of the common good,” he argues, “history shows that we have anarchy or authoritarianism or both: a violent, unstable society.”

The COVID crisis poses major challenges and it is up to us how we react. “We must choose brotherhood over individualism as our organizational principle,” he concludes. “Fraternity, the feeling of belonging to one another and to all of humanity, is the ability to come together and work together against a common horizon of possibility.”

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