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Bishops of Belgium: Only together can we defeat Covid-19

The Bishops of Belgium issue a letter ahead of the feast of All Saints and the commemoration of All Souls, highlighting the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.

By Vatican News

In the letter, the Bishops highlight the dramatic rise in Coronavirus cases in the country, with particular reference to Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders.

They also note that this dangerous situation is very worrying, especially as winter approaches.

Solidarity

The letter stresses that “Only together can we defeat Covid-19.” The bishops call on Christian communities and believers “to collaborate loyally with the responsible authorities and to strictly observe the promulgated rules. This civic sense is essential to show our solidarity.”

Speaking to Vatican News’ Olivier Bonnel, the Auxiliary Bishop of Brussels, Jean Kockerols, says, with this letter, they want to encourage people because “there is the temptation to want to fight this pandemic alone.”  He underlines that this is a time when people “have to stay together and fight together and pray together.”

The bishops emphasize that “No one is safe from the virus.” They also invite people to offer neighbourhood assistance to those who are more vulnerable, such as the elderly and the disabled.

Stressing the importance of solidarity at this time, Bishop Kockerols says it is “very important to rediscover in this pandemic that we are exactly the same.”  He notes, just as Pope Francis states in his encyclical letter, “we are all brothers and sisters”.

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Pandemic and economy

The letter also acknowledges the economic impact of the pandemic.

“Many companies”, it says, “are deeply affected by the measures taken; large companies, but also small independent businesses. They cannot fulfill their role at the social level and suffer heavy financial losses… We ask our communities and all believers to support them to the best of their ability, to show solidarity and to preserve their future prospects.”

Saints and Souls

As All Saints' Day and the Commemoration of the Dead approach, the bishops note that “The strengthening of measures will unfortunately not allow for religious services with a large congregation on All Saints' Day. But we will personally entrust our lives to God.”

Speaking about the upcoming feasts of All Saints and All Souls, Bishop Kockerols highlights that a very important element of the Catholic faith is in the communion of Saints.

“Actually this communion is a great thing in this pandemic, this communion, beyond our difficulties we are one, and the Lord is gathering us into this communion… it is very important to discover this  communion in our hearts, in our prayers and in our minds.”

As the Belgian government considers stricter curbs to halt the spread of the virus, the Bishops call on all Christian communities and believers to act responsibly and to always choose the safest measures. “This is the most difficult path in the short term but the safest in the long term.”

29 October 2020, 12:45