VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis expressed his “hope in humanity” in face of the drama of the coronavirus pandemic in an interview with Spanish journalist Jordi Évole for a television program aired March 22.
Asked by Évole if he were “optimistic” in face of the coronavirus pandemic, the Holy Father said, “that’s a word I don’t like, because optimism to me, I’m not saying it is, to me sounds like makeup,” putting a good face on things.
“I have hope. I have hope in humanity, I have hope in men and women,” the Roman Pontiff added.
“I have hope in the peoples” of the world who “are going to take lessons from this crisis to re-evaluate their lives. We’re going to come out better. Fewer of us, of course, many are still sick and it’s hard. But I have faith, we’re going to come out better,” the pope continued.
The Holy Father said that “the last thing I would do” to those who have lost loved ones in this pandemic “is to tell them something. What I try to do is make them feel my closeness.”
“Today the language of gestures is more important that words,” he said.
The Holy Father also expressed his concern for people living on the margins of society out of view. “A drama is coming to light, I don’t know if it’s underneath the surface but hidden from our societies. Sometimes they’re hypocritical societies, sometime they are societies that are unaware who aren’t aware of this hidden world,” he said.
The Holy Father said that “we’re starting to get closer to those people that we just know as a concept.”
“This brings us closer to these people who in some way have very little hope, who have nowhere to go for support,” he said.
Pope Francis also lamented that “we all sin in someway by underrating the problem” of the coronavirus.
The Holy Father also expressed his admiration for healthcare professionals, because “they are teaching me how to be committed” and “I am grateful for their witness. Doctors, nurses, volunteers who have to sleep on stretchers because there are no more beds in the hospitals and they can’t go home.”
“I like to use a word that fits well: the saints next door,” he said, and pointed out that “many of them aren’t believers, many are agnostics or they lead a life of faith in their own way, but in their witness you see this ability to give their all for others. Some of them have died.”
Regarding those working in the supermarkets and the police, the pope stressed that “they’re the ones keeping society functioning, so that the essentials aren’t lacking. And they tell me that here in Rome they’re doing a great job, a really great job.”
Pope Francis also said that with a crisis like this, “nature’s giving us a jolt to take charge of taking care of nature.”
“There’s a saying that you surely know: God always forgives, we forgive now and then, nature never forgives, fires, floods, earthquakes,” he said.