Pope Francis highlights pandemic in message to European bishops
By Vatican News
The theme of this virtual Plenary Assembly is "The Church in Europe after the Pandemic: Perspectives for Creation and the Community", and in a message to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Council, Pope Francis expresses his appreciation for the subject the Bishops have chosen.
Pandemic has left its mark
The Pope writes, “The experience of this pandemic has left a deep mark in all of us, because it dramatically affected one of the structural requirements of our existence—relations among people and in society.”
This, in turn, he goes on to say, has upset customs and relationships, and has changed “the conditions of our social and economic life.”
Pope Francis acknowledges, “The very life of the Church has been significantly impacted,” adding, “we were forced to re-fashion our religious practice, and many pastoral activities have not adjusted to this new situation yet.”
Plight of elderly and young people
In the message, the Pope draws attention to “the deaths of so many elderly people, the tragedy of families taken aback by intense and daunting suffering.”
He also mentions “the plight of children and young people locked up in their homes, and the suspension of religious rites and Christian formation initiatives.”
The work of priests and religious
All this, he points out, “has led many priests and religious to look for courageous ways to provide their pastoral service, testifying to their paternal and tender proximity to the people.”
“Faced with the explosion of new forms of poverty,” the Pope stresses that “this work of creative charity must continue, while showing an increasingly attentive and generous closeness to the weakest.”
As the pandemic shows no signs of abating, Pope Francis calls on Christian communities “to engage in a spiritual interpretation of what we have experienced, so they can learn what life can teach and discern perspectives for the future.”
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the CCEE Plenary Assembly, which was to take place in Prague, Czech Republic from the 25 to 27 September has now been cancelled by personal attendence. Participants will now take part in the work of the Plenary in online mode on the 25 and 26 September.