Let Us Dream
In his recent book ‘Let us Dream’, Pope Francis set out a roadmap: ‘a path to a better future’. In conversation with Austen Ivereigh, he muses on how the Coronavirus pandemic can lead to transformation. It affects most of the world and is the most visible sign of crises we face today: climate change, wars, refugees fleeing poverty and hunger, and destruction of the natural world. The Bible talks of such trials as passing through fire. We are all tested in life and, “it is how we grow.” From his own life the Pope describes how three crises changed him dramatically, and after the pandemic we must all emerge better. As Christians we must put others first, and any blueprint for change, he says, must “serve the poor and marginalised, just as Jesus did.”
In the section entitled ‘A Time to Choose’ the Pope says that a sign of hope in this crisis is the leading role of women. Women have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic – as health care workers or domestic workers on low pay – but women are also some of the most resilient. He notes women prime ministers globally who have reacted with empathy. He refers to the strength of women in the gospel who followed Jesus to his death and were the first witnesses to the Resurrection. He wonders: ‘Could it be that in this crisis the perspective that women bring is what the world needs at this time to meet the coming challenges?’
The Pope rejects the old economic model of maximisation of profits, using the measurement of GDP (Gross Domestic Product). He feels this model plunders our planet, creates huge disparities of wealth and is ultimately unsustainable. Women economists, he suggests, like Kate Raworth, who offers an alternative model called ‘Doughnut Economics’, start from a basis of protecting people and the natural world through a way of life which is regenerative and distributive. At its heart is a concern that all humanity has access to land, lodging and labour, themes of Catholic Social Teaching. Pope Francis has appointed Kate and two other UK women economists to the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy.
March 5 is Women’s World day of Prayer. March 8 is International Women’s day. Let us pray that the world will listen to such women and to Pope Francis so that we emerge from the pandemic to a new sustainable and compassionate way of living.
Celia Capstick is on the National Board of Catholic Women’s Social Responsibility Committee.