Sustaining life and community

Sustaining life and community

The General Commission for Justice and Peace in Spain is experiencing with great grief and sadness the illness and death of so many people due to the coronavirus pandemic. We wish to express our closeness to those who directly or indirectly suffer from the disease, and our immense gratitude to all the health, scientific, emergency, supply and support personnel who contribute to sustaining life.


This crisis brings out the best in each person by placing solidarity at the center, making us feel the common, which is what unites us. Today more than ever we are living the mutual support, the well-known phenomenon of "everything is connected". Likewise, it offers us the opportunity in this time of Lent of an integral ecological conversion, as described by Laudato si', by experiencing a consumption that respects our planet and its biodiversity and a care from austerity.


It also highlights the numerous and serious cuts that have been made to health and to all social policies, being these policies the ones that legitimate a social and democratic state based on the rule of law. It hurts us to see that the government of the scarce resources available in the public administrations has prioritized the purchase of arms rather than focusing the shortages of the Spanish population, as well as the execution of short term policies.


We regret the situation of vulnerability in which many professionals are at risk of contagion due to the lack of personal protection equipment. We also express our solidarity and recognition of those people who, in spite of exposing their health and safety, work to maintain essential services by attending to the people who need them most.


We support and wish the public and health authorities every success in the difficult management of this crisis. We call for the articulation and promotion of all the necessary support and protection measures for the people most affected, those in situations of internment, those in an irregular administrative situation, women victims of violence, and those subject to deprivation of liberty. We are especially sorry for those who are on the streets, without a roof or a place to stay during this confinement.


We call for an intensification of all the exceptional economic measures that are needed to help the companies that are most affected, as well as their workforces.


With the conviction that this affliction will pass, we express our joy at so many signs of solidarity, not only from the Catholic Church but also from society as a whole. They are the best example that the evil called "enlightened selfishness" is not the solution to this crisis.  Our vulnerability, both personal and collective, requires the commitment of administrations, citizens, neighborhood and small support networks.


The capitalism that produces so much poverty and exclusion needs a Copernican twist. The Gospel and the application of the teachings of the Social Doctrine of the Church will help, in dialogue and collaboration with other religions and cultures, towards the achievement of a viable future with our planet, in order to arrive at another paradigm of living, producing, distributing and consuming in this globalized world threatened in its survival by enormous problems that affect humanity.


A reform of the international financial and monetary system, monitored by a public authority with universal competence (UN), is essential to curb the excesses and perversions of an economic system that has become in many ways the enemy of humanity, peace and justice. The dignity of the person must be safeguarded over capital, and decent work and fraternity over economic efficiency and profitability.


Even what we can do in Spain is not enough. The pandemic is a global problem that requires global solutions. It is urgent to move from an international society, where each country seeks its own interests, to an international community where nations cooperate for the common good. The same challenge is posed to the European Union. If the countries of the Union do not know how to cooperate, their existence, their raison d'être, is at risk.


In Spain we also need to overcome individualistic and statist approaches and commit ourselves to the collective. Justice and Peace values the commitment of citizens and of so many companies and we do not forget that public administrations are the ultimate guarantors of the common good of our society.


We are comforted to see that the logic of the common is prevailing these days. This crisis can be overcome from a consensus based on the common good and the rights of the most vulnerable people, including health care for elderly or those who have disabilities and chronic diseases.


This crisis must serve to consolidate the basic right to a dignified life for all people, the right to "live", the right to participate, the right to be included in the community. We must strengthen the bonds of commitment in citizenship with sufficient guarantees that rights will not be rolled back. Solidarity must be a collective responsibility, not charity.


We join the call to prayer proclaimed by the Church, and especially by Pope Francis, on behalf of all those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and their families, and those who are sustaining life in the face of the pandemic or preserving essential services, so that this immense pain can be overcome as soon as possible.


May the nearness of Easter give us the strength to make the Resurrection of Jesus Christ present to all people.


Spanish General Commission for Justice and Peace
Madrid. Friday, April 3rd, 2020