Pope Francis has warned against the “virus of radical individualism” and called for the newly-emerging vaccines against Covid-19 to be available to all.
Speaking in his annual urbi et orbi message, the Pope said: “In this historical moment, marked by the ecological crisis and by serious economic and social imbalances, aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, we need fraternity more than ever.”
He said nationalism cannot be allowed to prevent people living as human family.
“Nor can we let the virus of radical individualism win us over and make us indifferent to the suffering of other brothers and sisters. I cannot put myself before others, putting the laws of the market and invention patents above the laws of love and the health of humanity.
“I ask everyone: state leaders, businesses, to international organisations, to promote cooperation and not competition, and to seek a solution for all: vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy in all regions of the planet. In first place, the most vulnerable and needy.”
He continued: “Today, in this time of darkness and uncertainty about the pandemic, several lights of hope appear, such as vaccine discoveries. But for these lights to illuminate and bring hope to the whole world, they must be available to all.”
Pope Francis also spoke about the victims of war, especially children, and the people of Syria and the Yazidis.
“May the Child of Bethlehem give fraternity to the land that saw him born. May Israelis and Palestinians recover mutual trust to seek a just and lasting peace through direct dialogue, capable of overcoming violence and overcoming endemic resentments, to witness to the world the beauty of fraternity.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in the Christmas Day eucharist at Canterbury, said: “2020 has been for so many the darkness of Covid, of economic crisis, of climate emergency, evils of racism, of war, genocide and persecution. For billions around the world 2020 has been a year walking through the valley of the shadow of death.”
He said there was hope to be found.
“The vaccine is a gift of hope. Our sense of community and mutual care has changed so much. Notwithstanding the politics or recent history, or the sadness or rejoicing of different groups over Brexit, the capacity of governments to find a way forward in relations after Brexit is a Christmas gift.
“But above and beyond all these there is the simple history, the reality that the light came into the world and the darkness has not overcome it. Not because we feel it or believe it or it works for us, but because the light of the birth of Jesus reveals God as God is.”