Caritas President Michael Landau: Charity does not go into lockdown

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Caritas President Michael Landau has made an appeal for social cohesion and confidence in the face of the Corona crisis, the recent lockdown and the Islamist terrorist attack in Vienna. “Charity does not go into the lockdown”, said Landau during a service on Sunday in St. Stephen’s Cathedral on the occasion of the church’s “World Day of the Poor”. The willingness to stand together, to tackle and not to forget the weakest had made Austria great in the past, the Caritas President stressed. “We should continue on this path in the future.

Even if social cohesion was put to “an enormous test” and “Austria was dramatically challenged by terror”, solidarity was needed, Landau said. A look at history shows that individual people are especially important in challenging times. “The day will come when we will look back on this crisis as if it were a natural catastrophe that lies behind us. On that day we should be able to say: We have done our best.”

Commenting on the terrorist attack in downtown Vienna, Landau said that extremism, violence and terror “have no place in our society”. But social values could “best be preserved by continuing to live them”. He continued: “Values that are important to us can be betrayed by individuals, but can only be preserved by all together.

Caritas, as an aid organization that will be 100 years old in a few months, is the first to notice the social consequences of the Corona crisis, said Landau. It is a kind of “seismograph in our society”. The Caritas president warned that for many people the health crisis has currently turned into a social crisis. Single parents, families with children and the elderly are particularly affected. “There are many people, also in Austria, who do not know how to keep their homes warm and fill the refrigerator.

One should not resign oneself to this need, Landau warned. He also referred to Pope Francis’ message on the “World Day of the Poor”, which was already published in June. In it, the Pope recalled the “outstretched hands” of nurses and doctors, administrative staff and pharmacists, priests, volunteers and others who help Corona patients. Especially in times of the Corona crisis, he said, there is a need “to always have a hand that helps and supports us,” said Landau.

Landau expressed his gratitude that the German government “is trying to ward off collateral damage from the corona pandemic with many measures”. The consequences of the crisis for the poorest people could not be averted by volunteers or aid organizations alone. Among other things, affordable housing and heating were necessary.

In Austria, today’s “World Day of the Poor”, introduced by Pope Francis in 2017, coincides with the traditional “Elizabeth Sunday”. On this day, donations for the work of Caritas are collected in all parishes throughout Austria.

  • hector pascua, with reports from kathpress.at. Picture: pixabay.com
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