We should not desire a return to our pre-pandemic normality, Pope Francis emphasized in his general address on Sept. 30.

COVID-19 has revealed that we lived in an “ailing normality,” the pontiff said, which “was sick with injustice, inequality and environmental degradation.”

We must create a new social order forged by commitments to dignity, solidarity and subsidiarity – topics he explored in previous addresses – which receives its inspiration from the kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus.

This would look like “social organization … based on contributing, sharing and distributing with tenderness; not on possessing, excluding and accumulating.”

Global injustices “are neither natural nor inevitable,” the pope said, but are human-caused and result from “a model of growth detached from the deepest values.”

The world needs a cure from more than the novel coronavirus, he emphasized. It needs healing from “socioeconomic viruses” that plague the world, causing gross inequalities and injustices to become deeply embedded in the social order to the point we don’t see them.

“And certainly we cannot expect the economic model that underlies unfair and unsustainable development to solve our problems,” Pope Francis said. “It has not and will not do so because it cannot do so, even though some false prophets continue to promise the ‘trickle-down effect’ that never comes.”

A revisioning and restructuring of the social order is required, such that positive attributes and moral values like generosity, tenderness and care for all people begin to inform policies and receive both recognition and reward when enacted.

“May God grant us to ‘viralize’ love and to ‘globalize’ hope in the light of faith,” the pope concluded.

The full address is available here.

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