Podcast: How the Vatican is working to ensure social justice and water rights after coronavirus

An Iraqi man wearing a protective face mask and gloves gives a bottle of water to a homeless man in Basra April, 2, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. During his morning Mass April 2, Pope Francis prayed that the coronavirus pandemic may awaken people's consciences to the plight of homeless men and women suffering in the world. (CNS photo/Essam al-Sudani, Reuters)

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, the Vatican is looking both to provide for people’s spiritual needs and to ensure justice for those on the margins of society.


In this episode of “Inside the Vatican,” veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell and I give an update on two new cases of coronavirus in the Vatican. Then, we turn to the Vatican’s response, beginning with the new prayers Pope Francis authorized this week.

The pope approved a special intention to be added to the Good Friday liturgy, a measure that was expected as part of the Vatican’s guidelines for celebrating Holy Week liturgies without the presence of the faithful, and he authorized a new set of prayers for “Mass in the Time of Pandemic.” Both texts pray for the sick, the dead, and mourners, as well as their caretakers and world leaders.

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Up next, Father Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits, held a webinar for 1,000 Jesuits and lay people this week urging them to discern how the world’s injustices have come to the fore during this pandemic and how each of them may be called to respond. “Listening to the Spirit, trusting in God and allowing ourselves to be guided by him does not exempt us from the effort to understand in depth the causes of this crisis, its consequences and the ways to make it an occasion to advance towards a more just and humane world,” Father Sosa said.

One way the Vatican is working to advance justice is through a new document released this week on the just use of water. Christiana Zenner, a Fordham University theologian and author of the book Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and Fresh Water Crisesjoins me to discuss the document’s important points.

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