Pope calls for end to 'pandemic of poverty' after virus

Vatican City (AFP) –


"Everything will be different" after the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis said Saturday, calling for a fairer society and action to "end the pandemic of poverty in the world".

Speaking in Spanish in a video message to mark the feast of Pentecost, the pontiff said there was a duty to build a new reality, particularly for the poorest.

"Once we emerge from this pandemic, we will not be able to keep doing what we were doing, and as we were doing it. No, everything will be different," he said.

"From the great trials of humanity -- among them this pandemic -- one emerges better or worse. You don't emerge the same.

"I ask this of you: how do you want to come out of it? Better or worse?" said the 83-year-old Argentinian.

The pope led a prayer in the Vatican gardens for all those affected by the pandemic, which has killed nearly 370,000 people worldwide and devastated the global economy.

He will also address the faithful on Sunday from his window overlooking Saint Peter's Square for the first time since March, as the city-state further eases its virus lockdown.

For weeks his traditional Angelus prayer has been live-streamed each weekend to the world from inside the Apostolic Palace.

People need to open their minds and hearts to learn the central lesson from this crisis, he said on Saturday, declaring: "We are one humanity."

"We know it, we knew it, but this pandemic that we are living through has made us experience it in a much more dramatic way," he said.

"All the suffering will be of no use if we do not build together a more just, more equitable, more Christian society, not in name but in reality."