The two leaders spoke on the phone. Washington and Beijing already share experiences and information to fight the COVID-19. Until recently, the US blamed the Chinese for the epidemic. For China’s ambassador to the United States, only a madman" can claim that the coronavirus was produced in a US military laboratory. Xi calls for the removal of tariff barriers. US-Chinese confrontation continues in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait.
At the Angelus, Pope Francis joins the UN secretary general’s appeal because "in countries at war, health systems have collapsed and already reduced health personnel, have often been targeted". A renewed commitment to overcoming rivalries. “Conflicts are not resolved through war!”. Prayer for the sick in nursing homes, for barracks, for prisoners. The explosive problem of overcrowding in prisons. "God's answer to the problem of death is Jesus: 'I am the resurrection and the life'." The Christian is "a reflection of the love and tenderness of God, who frees from death and gifts the victory of life!"
During mass in the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis prayed for those who weep: “isolated people, people in quarantine; the elderly alone; hospitalized people and people in therapy; parents who see that since there is no salary, they will not be able to feed their children. " Ask for "the grace to cry", like "Jesus who was not ashamed to cry".
"We pray for families who are beginning to feel the need because of the pandemic." “I often think: they are good people - priests, nuns - who lack the courage to go and serve the poor. Something is missing. What these people were missing, the doctors of the Law. They lost their memory, they lost what Jesus felt in his heart: that he was part of his own people ".
The pontiff holds an "extraordinary moment of prayer" for the end of the coronavirus epidemic. "The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest,” urges to show solidarity and have hope, above all to be converted. “It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to” the Lord and others.
The devil is responsible for the cruelty against the righteous and for anti-Christian persecution. “Let us think of how the devil treated Jesus with cruelty, but also persecuted Christians; how he tried the most sophisticated means to lead them to apostasy, to move away from God. This is, as we say in everyday language, diabolical; indeed, [it is a] diabolical mind.”
During the epidemic, the dead were cremated immediately, without ceremonies and without specifying the cause of death. Now family members are waiting to bury the urns containing the ashes of their loved ones. About 45,000 urnes will be distributed in Wuhan alone. The number of coronavirus deaths in China is deliberately underestimated. In the days of the peak of the epidemic, the crematory ovens worked for 19 hours a day. Journalists Li Zehua, Fang Bin, Chen Qiushi have disappeared. Photos and videos of queues at Funeral Parlors and cemeteries are blocked on social media.
“Idolatry leads people towards the wrong religiosity; indeed, many times worldliness, which is a [form of] idolatry, makes people turn the celebration of a sacrament into a worldly feast.” Like a wedding. “People don’t know if it is a sacrament – where newlyweds really give their all, love each other before God, promise to be faithful before God, and receive the grace of God – or a catwalk of models” centred on “how they are dressed, one and the other”.
The Congregation for Divine Worship issued a decree with "general indications" for Holy Week celebrations. Services will be held without people. “Means of live (not recorded) telematic broadcasts can be of help.”
According to data from the 2018 Statistical Yearbook, the number of permanent bishops and deacons is growing, but priests, seminarians and religious are decreasing. In Asia, Catholics go from 10.9 to 11.1 percent.
At first radical Muslims claimed that the epidemic was a sign of Allah's anger and punishment. Now they claim the virus is a test of faith. If “such characters, such obscurantists with dark ideas, intervene and interfere in such sensitive issues with impunity it is because the state does not do its duty, that of protecting people.”
The 25th anniversary of John Paul II's encyclical Evangelium vitae was at the center of Francis' catechesis for the general audience. "he life that we are called to promote and defend is not an abstract concept, but always manifests itself in a person in the flesh: a newly conceived child, a poor outcast, a sick person who is alone and discouraged or in a terminal state, one who has lost his job or cannot find one, a rejected or ghettoized migrant...".
The Patriarchate of Constantinople, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Conference of European Churches (KEK), the ecumenical association of Christian Churches of Europe participated in the initiative, proposed by Francis.
Francis mentions the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul who have been running a dispensary for needy families in the Vatican for 98 years.
The National Council of Churches in India and the Indian Evangelical Alliance have taken up the pontiff's invitation. Felix Machado: "People are terrified and anxious; the situation asks us to witness a profound faith". Rev. Vijayesh Lal, EFI secretary general: “We ask all communities to pray and take care of the elderly and unemployed people”.