culture & justice"
Cristianisme i Justícia reflects on the social, political, economic, and spiritual consequences of the pandemic
Cristianisme i Justícia study center presents here a reflection on our experiences during these days and on the challenges and risks that await us.
Saved “by the skin of our teeth”
Jaume Flaquer, theological director for the center, in a document published in our Papers collection, warns that “we have been saved as humanity by the skin of our teeth … because, despite the initial hesitancy of some countries, we decided at last to focus our concern on older persons and others who are vulnerable.”
“Even so, the suffering has been terrible,” laments the center, which recognizes that moving past the crisis will be difficult. This experience has once again made death, so foreign to our first-world consciousness, a nearby, familiar event. All of a sudden, the virus has turned us “toward what is inward and what is essential.”
All the same, this document of Cristianisme i Justícia raises questions about the expectations of change that have been much discussed: “It is not at all certain that humanity is going to draw from this pandemic the conclusions that it should” because “those admirable resolutions that are made during the crisis are often set aside when good times return.”
Inequalities and the risks for democracy, privacy, and civil rights
Considering the economic crisis that will result from the pandemic, Cristianisme i Justícia makes it clear that “it will not affect everyone equally.” As a result, “we should find ways to ensure that in the coming months the solidarity that binds us together in the face of a common problem does not simply disappear.” To that end, advises the text, the political parties must rise to the occasion: they must seek the common good and not take advantage of the generalized discontent that will result from the loss of purchasing power.
Moreover, the pandemic may displace the axis of the world toward the East and thus expose us to significant risks of reduced protection for privacy and civil rights. The countries of the European Union must show that they are capable of solidarity with the countries most affected by the crisis “if they want to avoid the danger of breaking up the Union irreversibly.” At the same time, the West must not forget its commitments in justice to the countries of the global South, for we can expect to foresee humanitarian emergencies of incalculable magnitude.
A shared vulnerability
Finally, the document calls for the elaboration of a global narrative about the causes of what has happened, making clear the role of ecological factors, the globalizing model of consumption, and the need to fortify public health systems and improve research. It also calls for an evaluation of our systems for providing care for the elderly. We must ultimately recognize that we are all vulnerable and that our shared vulnerability should make us feel our shared humanity. Although it has affected people in very different ways, this is the first disease that we have experienced universally, and it has forced us to act with urgency in the face of a problem that is affecting all countries, races, and religions.
This reflection is being published in our Papers collection and is available on the web. The printed edition is being sent out with Booklet CJ 218, “Being Christian in Europe”, by Víctor Codina, not yet available in English; it will reach the 42,000 persons on our mailing list in the first half of June. Our mailings were suspended during the confinement, but they are beginning again now; only one issue of our collection was affected by the suspension.
Meanwhile, beginning the May 25th, the team of Cristianisme i Justícia will be progressively returning to work in the center’s offices, two and a half months after they were closed. The courses, seminars, and other activities open to the public will continue to be offered in a virtual format. At the present time, programming is being done for the next semester, keeping in mind how the present situation may affect it.