Pope Francis has urged the faithful to use the coronavirus pandemic’s “time of trial” to prepare for a future when inequalities are abolished and the poorest are no longer left behind.
He travelled outside the Vatican walls on Sunday to celebrate Mass at a nearby church to mark a special feast day dedicated to mercy.
Only a few priests were in the pews given Italy’s strict virus lockdown.
In his homily from the altar of the Santo Spirito church, Francis said the grave toll of the Covid-19 pandemic has reminded the world there are no borders between those who suffer, no differences in nationalities among those who are struck or spared.
“This is not some ideology,” Francis said.
“It is Christianity. We are all frail, all equal, all precious.
“May we be profoundly shaken by what is happening all around us.
“The time has come to eliminate inequalities, to heal the injustice that is undermining the health of the entire human family.”
Let us welcome this time of trial as an opportunity to prepare for our collective futurePope Francis
Francis has been using his daily livestreamed Masses in the Vatican hotel where he lives to single out elderly people, doctors and nurses, prisoners and those with disabilities for special prayers.
On Sunday, he delivered a broader message about inequality and the need for a post-virus world to rethink its priorities.
It is a theme that echoes the pre-pandemic preaching of the world’s first Latin American pope, who has constantly demanded greater solidarity among rich and poor.
In recent days, Francis has proposed the creation of a universal basic wage to help those who have lost their jobs as a result of the virus economic shutdown to survive.
On Sunday, he said there is a grave risk that while Covid-19 might eventually be tamed, the virus of “selfishness indifference” could take its place.
To combat that risk, he said: “Let us welcome this time of trial as an opportunity to prepare for our collective future.
“Because without an all-embracing vision, there will be no future for anyone.”