The coronavirus pandemic should serve as an opportunity to build a fairer and greener society, Pope Francis said on Wednesday, warning against a return to the old “normal.”
“We are all worried for the social consequences of the pandemic, all of us. Many want to go back to normal and resume economic activities,” Francis said during his weekly audience.
“Sure, but this normal should not include social injustices and damage to the environment,” he added. “Today we have an opportunity to build something different.”
The pope said charity efforts were not enough to help the poor, and called for a fairer economic development model that would address the root causes of inequality.
He said public subsidies doled out by governments as part of post-coronavirus recovery aid should not benefit companies with a poor record on the environment, social and labour rights.
Francis also said any Covid-19 vaccine should be made available to all. “It would be sad if for the Covid-19 vaccine priority would be given to the richest,” he noted.