Pope Francis’s Easter Message of Hope and Dignity
April 14, 2020
On Easter Sunday, in light of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis stated “this may be the time to consider a universal basic wage.” His message to members of social movements encourages those who are organizing at the margins, thanks them for this work, and calls attention to the inequality and disparities that already exist and are worsened by COVID-19.
We must do the same, underscoring the ways that coronavirus is increasing persistent racial and economic disparities in the U.S and calling for solutions.
In the past several weeks, we have seen a stark separation between those who can afford to “stay home and stay safe” and those who are forced to endanger their health by continuing to work to put food on the table for their families. We have seen coronavirus cases and deaths disproportionately affect Black and brown communities as a result of a combination of factors (access to health care, pre-existing medical conditions, poor air quality, and more) caused by racial segregation and discrimination in the United States.
Pope Francis’s Easter message to the world calls us to re-evaluate our economic response to this crisis and put human life and dignity at the center. Beyond that, he encourages us to reimagine our world after the pandemic, to renew and transform life for marginalized people and communities. He calls us to “shake our sleepy consciences” and “put an end to the idolatry of money.”
We know that all people have dignity and worth, regardless of income, race, or immigration status. At the same time, we see and hear the many ways that our economic system, systemic racism, lack of health care, housing, nutrition, and other basic necessities deny the dignity and life of our neighbors and family every day. Pope Francis’s call to consider Universal Basic Income is a prophetic call to value human life over profit.
May we be bold enough to follow this call, re-imagine our world, and re-order our communal life in the United States.
Read Pope Francis’s full Easter address to popular movements of the world.