The Vatican released a document for church faithful with reflections on COVID-19, and the missive is as devoid of Gospel as one might expect from a Church that is doubly so. The Pontifical Academy for Life produced the document and it was introduced by the Vatican Press with the wordy title ” “Useful information on the Document of the Pontifical Academy for Life: Humana Communitas in the age of pandemic: untimely meditations on life’s rebirth.”
The work, which is stretched out over 4000 words, does not mention Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, the Church, prayer, or Christian, making one question how “useful” it would actually be to the believer.
But the most interesting part, which is par for the course, is that the Vatican bases the pandemic on humans monkeying about with mother nature and the environment, writing:
” The Covid-19 epidemic has much to do with our depredation of the earth and the despoiling of its intrinsic value. It is a symptom of our earth’s malaise and our failure to care; more, a sign of our own spiritual malaise (Laudato Si’, n. 119). Will we be able to remedy the fracture that has separated us from our natural world, too often turning our assertive subjectivities into a menace to creation, a menace to one another?
Consider the chain of connections that link the following phenomena: increasing deforestation pushes wild animals in the proximity of human habitat. Viruses hosted by animals, then, are passed on to humans, thus exacerbating the reality of zoonosis, a phenomenon well known to scientists as a vehicle of many diseases. The exaggerated demand for meat in first world countries gives rise to enormous industrial complexes of animal farming and exploitation. It is easy to see how these interactions might ultimately occasion the spread of a virus through international transportation, mass mobility of people, business travelling, tourism, etc.
Let us know when the Vatican and Pope Francis offer some reflections and hope that actually involve Jesus and the gospel. We won’t hold our breath.