Cardinal Peter Turkson. (Photo: Vatican News)
Vatican Cardinal Peter Turkson has said that people must be at the center of efforts to counter the coronavirus pandemic.
“The dignity of the human person is the one thing that you cannot compromise on,” Cardinal Turkson told the World Economic Forum’s virtual panel on poverty alleviation on Jan. 28.
The prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Human Development said that concerns about “profit, financial gains, economics … tend to push the person into the background.”
According to reports, the pandemic pushed millions of people below the poverty line in wealthy countries and will drive 150 million people in developing countries to extreme poverty in 2021, Catholic News Agency reported on Jan. 29 .
The Davos Agenda summit was held online from Jan. 25-29. It is aimed at helping world leaders to “choose innovative solutions to stem the pandemic and drive a robust recovery over the next year.”
The cardinal participated in a session entitled “Stopping poverty from going viral.” Others included a professor of economics, former executive director at Goldman Sachs and chief editor of the UN World Investment Report.
The Vatican commission on Covid-19 is connecting people in different countries to evaluate and promote access to health care, job security and pandemic vaccines, the cardinal said. He suggested making local production of vaccines.
“Several countries do have the facilities. They do have pharmaceutical [infrastructure] to be able to produce this, and if this was done locally I think that the impact of the coronavirus will be very much tamed or diminished,” he said.
The Vatican commission on Covid-19, which is headed Cardinal Turkson, has advocated easy availability of vaccines as “a matter of justice.”
Turkson told the Davos forum: “The human person is central to all of this, not simply as the beneficiary, but is also the crucial actor. He must change his lifestyle, he must change his way of thinking, and develop a heart for the other person to be able to feel for the well-being of the other.”
“If that does not happen, we may have all of the structures that we want … but if the one at the wheel, at the helm of things, does not change attitude, morality, ethical considerations, and all of that, not much will change.”