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Rome Reports

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First encounter with pilgrims after six months: Either we show solidarity, or the situation will worsen


After practically six months with no contact with people outside the Vatican, the pope met once again with pilgrims.

This is how he greeted them before beginning his catechesis. Everyone was required to wear masks, and the pope stayed a safe distance away.

Pope Francis wanted to make up for the time lost during the pandemic. He stopped to listen to those present. This was one of the most moving moments: The pope prayed for a few seconds after kissing and holding a Lebanese flag.

POPE FRANCIS
“After so many months, we resume our meeting face-to-face; not screen-to-screen—face-to-face. This is nice.”

The pope continued his reflection on the post-pandemic world. He explained that these months have shown our interconnectedness. That's why solidarity is necessary, now more than ever.

POPE FRANCIS
“It's not merely a question of helping others—it's good to do so—it is a matter of justice. Solidarity today is the road to living in a post-pandemic world, toward the healing of our interpersonal and social sicknesses. There is no other option: either we move forward along the road of solidarity, or things will get worse.”

Pope Francis insisted yet again on taking advantage of this crisis to enact real change. For example, not considering others as tools. In front of individualistic egoism, the pope advocated for unity in diversity. 

POPE FRANCIS
“A diversity in solidarity possesses antibodies that ensure that the singularity of each person—which is a gift, unique and unrepeatable—does not sicken with individualism, with selfishness.”

The pope concluded this first audience with pilgrims by inviting them to pray silently for Lebanon. It's been a month since the terrible explosions that devastated Beirut, leaving dozens dead, hundreds wounded and causing enormous material damages.