On Friday April 3rd, in the midst of a crisis due to the spread of the coronavirus worldwide, Pope Francis began daily Mass in Santa Marta inviting to pray and think about the future: “There are people who from now on start to think about later: the time after the pandemic. In all the problems that will come: problems of poverty, work, hunger ... Let us pray for all those who help today, but let us also think about tomorrow, to help all of us.”
On March 20th, the Pope had already requested the Dicastery for the Integral Human Development Service (DSSUI) to create a commission to express the Church's concern and love for the entire human family in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially through analysis and reflection on the socio-economic and cultural challenges of the future and the proposal of guidelines to face them.
After the celebrations of Holy Week, the news of the creation of the commission requested by the Pope was published. It is chaired by Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Human Development (DSSUI), and has the collaboration of other organisations of the Holy See.
The Pope has asked this commission for concreteness and creativity, scientific approach and imagination, universal thought and the ability to understand local demands. To answer all this, 5 groups have been formed:
Work Group 1
It is coordinated by DSSUI, it is dedicated to listening to and supporting the local Churches, in a service that makes them protagonists of the situations in which they live in cooperation with Caritas Internationalis.
Work group 2
Also coordinated by the DSSUI, it will deal with the investigation and study of the pandemic, to reflect on society and the post-Covid-19 world, particularly in the sectors of the environment, the economy, work, health, politics, communication and security.
Work group 3
This group will be coordinated by the Communication Department, and will have the task of reporting on the work carried out by the Groups. In addition, it will promote communication with local Churches, helping them to respond authentically and credibly to the post-Covid-19 world.
Work group 4
This group will be coordinated by the Section of Relations with States of the Secretary of State, will support the Holy See in its activities and relations with countries and international organisations, communicating to them the fruits of research, dialogue and the reflections produced.
Work group 5
The last group, coordinated by DSSUI, will be responsible for funding to support the Covid-19 Commission's assistance to local churches and Catholic organisations, as well as its research, analysis and communication activities.
The consequences of the economic, social and humanitarian crisis that is causing the health crisis can be dealt with in a more effective and coordinated way thanks to the work of these groups. Together, innovative solutions will be sought that alleviate suffering and open the way for a new economic and social model that favours the care of the "common home", inspired by the principles of the encyclical Laudato Si.
The formation of the Covid-19 Commission is a qualified expression of the hopeful "plan to resuscitate" that the Pope proposes in the Easter reflection published last April 17th in the magazine Vida Nueva.
Interview Cardenal Turkson 4 minutes (in English): https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-04/turkson-think-covid19-aftermath-to-not-be-unprepared.html