human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Faith and action

Loneliness

Dear ‘Faith and Action’ reader,

At about this time last year, we gazed with some degree of trepidation as the Holy Father celebrated Easter Mass, a solitary figure alone on a raised platform in Saint Peter’s Square.

Then it was hard to imagine that a year later, we would still find ourselves in the midst of the pandemic, which maintains a tight grip, though we now have hopes and indeed optimism as effective vaccines are rolled out. Yet even that is not without its pitfalls. Not surprisingly, vaccine doses are becoming widely and rapidly available in the world’s wealthy countries, and to the wealthier segments of those societies, which is just one ill that has been brought into stark relief by COVID-19.

In addition to the affliction of poverty, inequality and injustice, COVID-19 has brought loneliness to light as a destructive ailment in today’s world. Loneliness, it is not well known, is an illness of the modern era, as the fabrics of our communities have been worn away by individualism and rampant consumerism – driven by a greed for material comforts. Yet the two are like oil and water: they simply do not mix.

For this Easter publication of Faith and Action, we reflect on that very loneliness. We see our Caritas members at their best, finding new ways to reach the lonely, not only in elderly care homes but also even those of us locked down alone at home. Caritas mobilised to respond, using telephone hotlines and any means possible to connect with people flooded with desolation, even more so than isolation.

Yet in that loneliness, says one of our contributors, we can also be brought closer to God, and in fact, seeking isolation from the world is almost a necessary rite to feel and know God. After this period of confinement, may we emerge knowing we are called to break with the ways of the past that brought us to this point. But it is not a breaking point. I can say we now know clearly what is being asked of us: to truly work to reconnect with our fellow brothers, sisters, cousins and our villages again. To care for creation and share in its plenty, rather than jealously hoard it for one’s self.

Even in these seemingly last days of a pandemic, there is bounty if we open our eyes to gaze in wonder. May we soon embrace and feel that love once again, well beyond the walls of our very singular homes.

Wishing you a joyous Easter!

Nancy McNally
Communications and Fundraising Director

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‘Fraternibus’ by Caritas France

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theological reflections

THE POVERTY OF LONELINESS

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Contact Nancy McNally
Communications and Fundraising Director
nmcnally@caritas.eu

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about the platform

This platform provides a space for in-depth interdisciplinary and ecumenical reflection. The focus is on the relationship between the Catholic Church’s praxis and the social thought coming from various Caritas organisations. It allows for practical and academic exchange on how to better develop this relationship for the mutual benefit of all. The platform is designed around concrete urgent social themes, offering serious, respectful and innovative reflections on bridging religious praxis and contemporary societies. Faith and Action offers a forum for the voices of diverse people of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It offers concrete examples, records current research and assesses the relevant literature.

The opinions expressed in the articles here are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of Caritas Europa.

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