Pope Francis warns the world ‘is seriously ill’ with coronavirus pandemic issues

Pope Francis’ doctor dies from COVID-19 ‘complications’

The Pontiff highlighted the “despair” brought on by the global health crisis on Monday during an address to the ambassadors to the Holy See in the Vatican. He pointed out the “educational catastrophe” faced by children who have been forced to attend virtual lessons as schools shuttered, according to the Washington Post.

The Pope said: “Not only as a result of the virus, but also in its natural environment, its economic and political processes, and even more in its human relationships.”

During his annual greetings to the Holy See diplomatic corps, the Pontiff addresses issues and crisis affecting the world.

The Pope said: “The pandemic shed light on the risks and consequences inherent in a way of life dominated by selfishness and a culture of waste, and it set before us a choice: either to continue on the road we have followed until now, or to set out on a new path.”

He also pointed out that the annual event had to be moved from the state hall of the Apostolic Palace to a larger venue to “respect the need for greater personal distancing.”

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He warned the pathogen was “devious and unpredictable” and that preventive measures should be followed.

The Pontiff added: “It would be disastrous to put our trust in the vaccine alone, as if it were a panacea exempting every individual from constant concern for his or her own health and for the health of others.”

As well as his warning about the coronavirus pandemic, the Pope offered a reflection on last week’s military coup in Myanmar, which began with the detention of leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The 84-year-old said: “The path to democracy undertaken in recent years was brusquely interrupted by last week’s coup d’état.

“This has led to the imprisonment of different political leaders, who I hope will be promptly released as a sign of encouragement for a sincere dialogue aimed at the good of the country.”

The Pope’s speech comes after claims his plans to modernise the church could split the Vatican.

He recently appointed sister Becquart to the post of undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, a role that will raise the prospect of her participating in Vatican votes, something women have previously been unable to do in the upper echelons of the Catholic church.

Secretary general of the Synod, Cardinal Mario Grech, praised the instalment, explaining that it proved Francis’ wish for “a greater participation of women in the process of discernment and decision-making in the church” had come true.

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However, Lynda Telford, a religious historian, told Express.co.uk how the move could lead former Pope Benedict to try to exert his authority, despite resigning from the role in 2013.

She claimed Benedict “would be horrified” by any plans to bring women further inside the Vatican, adding: “Benedict is the old fashioned Priest, who thinks women are for praying and for breeding, who must stay at home and do as they are told.

“I think anyone who has a less forward thinking role in the Vatican will be concerned about this.”

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