Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Pope Francis said in an address Wednesday that personal and collective individualism, selfishness and indifference brought on by the coronavirus pandemic is damaging human relationships and culture.
The pontiff spoke to his General Audience during catechesis, which is religious instruction given in preparation for Christian baptisms or confirmations.
"The pandemic has made us more aware of the spread within our societies of a false, individualistic way of thinking, one that rejects human dignity and relationships, views persons as consumer goods and creates a 'throwaway' culture," Francis said.
"In contrast, faith teaches that we have been created in God's image and likeness, made for love and for the communion of life with him, with one another and with the whole of creation. Jesus tells us that true discipleship consists in following his example by spending ourselves in service of others."
COVID-19, he said, is a disease that has exposed the "broadest social ills" that have distorted the view of people and ignored dignity. He said Jesus Christ set an example of service to others.
"He confirms it by immediately restoring sight to two blind men and making them his disciples. We want to recognize the human dignity in every person, whatever his or her race may be."
The pope said faith encourages worshipers to fight indifference "in the face of violations of human dignity" in times like these.
"Faith always requires us to let ourselves be healed and to convert from our individualism, both personal and collective."
Since the start of the pandemic, Francis has urged compassion for the homeless and resistance to politicians who prioritize economies ahead of health.