Pope Francis warns of usurers who profit from pandemic

Pope Francis warned against usurers who profit from the difficulties of others due to the global health crisis brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

At the start of his daily Mass on April 23, the pontiff noted that due to the pandemic “many families find themselves in need, and they are hungry.”

He then noted that loan sharks are profiting from the situation. “This is another pandemic, another virus: It’s a social pandemic,” said the pope.

“Let us pray for these families, for their dignity, and let us pray also for the usurers: That the Lord might touch their hearts and convert them,” continued Pope Francis.

He said families who lost their jobs and those who are not working and have no food to put on the table for their children have become prey to usurers.

Global economic activity has ground to a halt this month as government-imposed lockdowns took a particularly heavy toll on the world’s service industry, resulting in job losses.

The outbreak, which has infected more than 2.6 million people and killed more than 180,000 globally, has also crippled manufacturing, shutting factories and upending supply chains.

The International Monetary Fund said last week that Asia would post zero economic growth this year for the first time in 60 years as the health crisis takes an “unprecedented” toll on the region’s service sector.

In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the courage of Peter the Apostle who upheld his faith and declared his obedience to God.

Pope Francis noted that Peter is the same man who had denied Jesus, “who was full of fear and was even a coward.”

The pope noted that the apostle chose to undertake a journey in which he showed courage and boldness.

“In the history of the Church, the people of the Church have had to do this often in order to save the people of God,” said Pope Francis, noting, however, that at other times, Church leaders made compromises to save themselves rather than the Church.

Pope Francis said that just as Jesus prays for Peter, he prays for everyone.

The pontiff urged the faithful not only to pray to Jesus so that He may “give us one grace or another” but also to contemplate Jesus who shows the Father his wounds.

“Let us think about how Peter was able to progress on this path from being a coward to becoming a courageous person with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” said the pope.

Pope Francis concluded his homily urging Christians to “to have more confidence” in praying “for the grace of allowing the Lord to teach us how to ask Him for the grace of praying for each one of us.”

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