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May 12, 2020

Global Dimensions of the Coronavirus Crisis

Responsibility and Solidarity, Policies and Priorities

Showing the Global Dimensions of the Coronavirus Crisis Video

This online Public Dialogue examined the global dimensions of the coronavirus crisis that are so often neglected in our focus on the pandemic’s impact on the United States. How is COVID-19—with its deadly health consequences and awful economic costs—affecting the rest of the world? What are U.S. responsibilities to the poorest places and people as the pandemic moves across the globe? The Initiative brought together Pope Francis’ designated leader on the crisis, the longtime leader of Bread for the World, and a leader on the front lines in Africa to explore the human and moral dimensions of the crisis as it spreads to even more of the poor and vulnerable around the world.

These leaders addressed key questions on Catholic social thought and the global dimensions of the coronavirus crisis:

  • What are the impacts, costs, and priorities as this pandemic spreads and threatens the lives and dignity of people in places without the resources, capacity, or infrastructure to contain, treat, and mitigate this deadly disease?

  • What is the message of Pope Francis and the work of the Catholic community in the face of this monumental challenge? How is Pope Francis encouraging and challenging us in these difficult days?

  • How should traditional moral principles regarding human life and dignity, solidarity, subsidiarity, and the common good guide the response to this crisis around the world?

  • What are the international responsibilities of the United States as we struggle to address and overcome the deadly toll and economic crisis in our own communities and nation?

  • What are American obligations to its own citizens and to migrants, refugees, and the poor and vulnerable in the poorest places on earth?

John Carr, director of the Initiative, moderated this online conversation.

This urgent discussion responded to the Easter challenge of Pope Francis:

This is not a time for indifference, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic. May the risen Jesus grant hope to all the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees and the homeless. May these, the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters living in the cities and peripheries of every part of the world, not be abandoned.

This online session was an Initiative Public Dialogue, Salt and Light Gathering, and Latino Leader Gathering and was co-sponsored by Catholic Relief Services.

Photo by Hugues Ahounou/Catholic Relief Services


Cardinal Peter Turkson

Cardinal Peter Turkson

Cardinal Peter Turkson is a native of Ghana and prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Vatican’s lead agency on justice, peace, and care for creation. Pope Francis has recently appointed Cardinal Turkson to lead the new Vatican COVID-19 Commission.

David Beckmann

David Beckmann

David Beckmann is president of Bread for the World, a Christian advocacy movement to end hunger, and the Alliance to End Hunger made up of corporations, universities, and diverse faith bodies working on hunger. A Lutheran minister, Beckmann received the World Food Prize (2010) and is the author of Exodus from Hunger (2010).

Haydee Diaz

Haydee Diaz

Haydee Diaz is the program director in Uganda for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), where she leads CRS’s response to the coronavirus, especially among refugees. A native of Cuba, Diaz has also served as a CRS leader in El Salvador and Honduras.