On March 30, the Pontifical Academy for Life published a statement: "The Global Pandemic and Universal Brotherhood" in connection with the Corona 19 situation. The Catholic Peace Weekly, Diagnosis of the Times column gives us some thoughts to ponder.
"All humanity is being put to the test. The Covid-19 pandemic puts us in a situation of unprecedented, dramatic, and global difficulty whose power to destabilize the plans we have for our lives grows daily. The pervasiveness of this threat calls into question aspects of our way of life we took for granted. We are living painfully a paradox we would never have imagined: to survive the disease we must isolate ourselves from others, but if we were ever to learn to live isolated from one another, we would quickly realize how essential for our lives is life with others."
The statement reminds us that it is as urgent as researching medicines and vaccines to painfully reflect on the value and meaning of 'humanism' in overcoming this situation.
At the beginning of the Corona 19 outbreak, the attitudes of developed countries were arrogant, as if science and technology could stop a global epidemic of this size. So they didn't care how vulnerable their systems were. The current situation is a completely new situation in which science and technology cannot optimistically predict, and the whole world is feeling instability and limitations in our knowledge.
On the other hand, even though the whole world is vulnerable, we cannot miss our interconnectedness. The epidemic spreads very quickly from one country to another, and what happened to one individual has a big impact on everyone.
Academy of Life emphasizes that we are now moving beyond simple interconnection to choose solidarity for coexistence. This change is already reflected in the dedication of medical staff, giving everything freely at the risk of their own life or health to care for patients around the world. However, some countries are trying to solve the current situation with the shortsighted and futile logic of 'national interests'. The Academy of Life statement urges us to have a broader perspective on international cooperation.
Most of all, we need to overcome this emergency with the antibody of solidarity. Technical and clinical research to prevent the spread of Corona 19 should integrate the achievements at the international level for the common good and should prevent the benefiting of the privileged or neglecting the vulnerable— dependence on income, political views, and age.
This last consideration urges us to pay a great deal of attention to how we talk about God's action in this historical crisis. We cannot interpret the sufferings that humanity is going through according to the crude scheme that establishes a correspondence between the divine and a 'sacred reprisal' undertaken by God. The mere fact that in such a scenario the weakest would suffer— precisely those whom He cares for the most and with whom He identifies (Mt 25:40-45) forestalls this possibility.
The Coronavirus is showing us what few things have in our history that we are are all united and need to help each other to overcome our difficulties. Let us not forget the other disasters of the weak: refugees, immigrants, those who suffer from conflict, war, and hunger.
Corona19 is challenging us to be socially responsible for the lives of all. Our government and the people have successfully faced this challenge. 'Social responsibility' is difficult to realize without a community spirit of emotional bonds (empathy) and interdependence. The social responsibility emphasized in the statement by the Academy of Life has now become a common responsibility worldwide that cannot be shouldered by only one country.
During the Sewol tragedy, [Ferry Tragedy] we shared our sympathy, interdependence, and social responsibility, and learning from this, we have also worked to overcome the Corona 19 situation. The writer hopes that the Korean government's efforts to actively share the social responsibility with the international community, as demonstrated by the Korean corona response model, will help us overcome the difficult times and unstable future.