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Religions Respond to COVID-19

The outcome of working together has always proved itself rewarding especially when the effort is meant to tackle a particular crisis. It has been the example of different religious denominations who came together to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.    

The pandemic has emphasized the great need for all peoples of the world, regardless of religion, to work together to address this international crisis. Through providing social services addressing the temporal needs of local parishioners and citizens from various religious convictions, to inspiring hope in many who have been undergoing faith crises in the past months, the world’s religious institutions have been challenged and have responded in action.

Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, based on the Nov. 6, 2020 article Climate crisis, COVID-19 demand interfaith action, say religious leaders by Brian Roewe on, pointed out that the strife brought about by COVID-19 has highlighted the “spiritual void” and the broken relationship of man with God, with others and with nature, alluding to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si.  

He identified “an inseparable link” between Laudato Si and Fratelli Tutti. According to him, Laudati Si teaches that there is a connection in everything, while Fratelli Tutti stresses that we are all linked as brothers and sisters. “All of us, irrespective of whichever religion we profess, have a moral and religious responsibility to shape an ethic of care for the Earth, which is our shared home,” he said.

There is truth to the saying, “United we stand, divided we fall.” But it will take humility to acknowledge that we have much to learn from each other and that we can complement one other. 

When I was still hosting Salitang Buhay over at Teleradyo, I remember having interviewed via phone patch, Sr. Mary Niere, OCD who narrated her story about her friendship with a Muslim girl. She said that based on her experience, a Catholic and a Muslim could pray together in deep contemplation, beyond the level of the ego, but it is not easy for many to accomplish this when the experience is devoid of authentic and profound listening.

At the very least, working together is possible through openness. Pope Francis, in Fratelli Tutti, wrote, “From our faith experience and the wisdom accumulated over centuries, but also from lessons learned from our many weaknesses and failures, we, the believers of the different religions, know that our witness to God benefits our societies. The effort to seek God with a sincere heart, provided it is never sullied by ideological or self-serving aims, helps us recognize one another as traveling companions, truly brothers and sisters.” 

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