Pope Francis condemned social and economic inequality exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday during his weekly general audience at the Vatican. Photo courtesy Vatican Media/EPA-EFE
Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Pope Francis on Wednesday condemned economic inequality as a "sickness" and urged the Catholic faithful to work to bridge gaps between the rich and poor exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a General Address delivered Wednesday, Francis said the gulf between the wealthy and the poor has been "highlighted and aggravated" by the pandemic and condemned those inequalities as "dismal."
Citing an example of poor children being unable to continue their in-person educations while those from wealthier countries can access remote learning, the Pope said such differences "reveal a sickness."
"When the obsession with possessing and dominating excludes millions of people from primary goods; when economic and technological inequality is such as to tear the social fabric; and when addiction to unlimited material progress threatens the common home, then we cannot stand by," he said.
"No, this is dismal. We cannot stand and watch."
Tapping Christian values, he said, "We must all act together in the hope of generating something different and better. Christian hope, rooted in God, is our anchor. It moves the will to share, strengthening our mission as disciples of Christ, who shared everything with us."
Francis' comments came as the Vatican announced that visitors will once again be admitted to the audiences beginning Sept. 2.
The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household said audiences during September will be held in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican. They will be conducted under COVID-19 guidelines but will be open to all, without the need for a ticket, the officials said.