During his annual meeting with ambassadors, the pope warned them of the “educational catastrophe” being set in motion by the pandemic. With many schools shut down, online learning has become the norm. But students without computers or internet access can’t study at all.
“We are witnessing a sort of “educational catastrophe” to which we must react for the sake of generations to come and for society as a whole. Education is, in fact, a natural antidote to the individualistic culture that at times degenerates into a true cult of the self and the primacy of indifference.”
As is customary, the pope reflected on the current global situation. He commented in great detail on the different crises resulting from the pandemic: health, environmental, economic, social, political and anthropological.
“The increased amount of time spent at home has also led to greater isolation as people pass longer hours before computers and other media, with serious consequences for the more vulnerable, particularly the poor and the unemployed. They become easier prey for cybercrime in its most dehumanizing aspects, including fraud, trafficking in persons, the exploitation of prostitution, including child prostitution, and child pornography.”
Pope Francis also noted that the pandemic has aggravated the political crisis in the world's democracies. He specifically mentioned polarization in the United States.
“The inability to seek common and shared solutions to the problems afflicting our world. This has been a growing trend, one that is becoming more and more widespread also in countries with a long tradition of democracy. Vitalizing democracies is a challenge in the present historic moment.”
Pope Francis asked for many things: giving medical attention to the most fragile, protecting all people’s right to life, supporting families, not confusing religious freedom with freedom of assembly, and helping forced migrants.
He concluded by offering a solution to these crises: generous collaboration between all countries.
The pope’s meeting with ambassadors is one of the most solemn and one of the most multicultural events at the Vatican.
The Holy See maintains diplomatic ties with 183 states, the European Union and the Order of Malta. Of these, 88 have an embassy in Rome. The others share an embassy with another European country.