Pope Francis highlights Church’s social teachings in healing world

Pope Francis invited the faithful to “explore” the Catholic Church’s social tradition, which he said can help the human family heal the world.

In a catechesis on Aug. 5, Pope Francis assured Christians that despite the pandemic, “God’s Kingdom of healing and of salvation is present, as Jesus assures us in Luke’s Gospel.”

He said the kingdom of justice and peace, manifested through works of charity, increases and strengthens faith.

Through faith, hope and charity, the Holy Spirit not only heals us but also make us healers, said the pope.

These virtues “open us to new horizons, even while we are navigating the difficult waters of our time,” he added.

The pontiff said that through the years, the Church has developed fundamental social principles that can help the world “move forward” to the future.

The pope admitted that the Church “is not an expert” in addressing the global health crisis “although she provides healthcare services in the remotest corners of the planet.”

“Neither does she give specific socio-political pointers. This is the job of political and social leaders,” added Pope Francis.

He stressed that over the centuries the Church, “by the light of the Gospel,” has social principles that can guide the human family in facing pressing issues.

A scene in the Sri Lankan capital city of Colombo on May 26 just after two plus months of COVID-19 curfew. (Photo by Ruwan Walpola/shutterstock.com)

The pontiff cited the principles of “the dignity of the person,” of “the common good,” “the preferential option for the poor,” “the universal destination of goods,” and the principle of “the care for our common home.”

He said these principles can help world leaders “foster growth” and, in the case of the pandemic, “the healing of the personal and social fabric.”

“All of these principles express in different ways the virtues of faith, hope, and love,” he added.

Pope Francis urged the human family to tackle the “pressing questions that the pandemic has brought to the fore,” especially “social ills.”

He encouraged everyone to stand together and “explore” how these Catholic social traditions help “heal this world that suffers from serious illnesses.”

“It is my desire that everyone reflects and works together, as followers of Jesus who heals, to construct a better world, full of hope for future generations,” said the pontiff.

Pope Francis reminded the faithful that during trying times, “we must keep our gaze firmly fixed on Jesus.”

He cited some accounts of Jesus’ ministry that offer examples of healing. “In reality, He heals not only the physical evil — which is true, physical evil — but He heals the entire person,” said the pope.

He said Jesus “restores the person back to the community also, healed; He liberates the person from isolation because He has healed him or her.”

The pontiff said that faith, hope, and charity “are much more than feelings or attitudes.”

“Within the Christian tradition … they are virtues infused in us through the grace of the Holy Spirit,” he said, adding that these are gifts “that heal us and that make us healers.”

Pope Francis urged the faithful to relive “the Gospel of faith, of hope, and of love,” and “transform the roots of our physical, spiritual, and social infirmities and the destructive practices that separate us from each other, threatening the human family and our planet.”

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