Pope Francis has enjoined experts in science and technology to ascertain that advances in science and technology will help create a more equitable and inclusive society. The Pope gave this charge in a message to the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which is discussing the contribution of science for the survival of humanity in light of the SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 pandemic and other global issues. At a time when the pandemic has roiled the social, economic and spiritual fabric of society, Pope Francis hopes that advances in science and technology will help create a more equitable and inclusive society, where the neediest and most vulnerable are given preference. Citing from his latest encyclical, Fratelli tutti, on fraternity and social friendship, he said: “How wonderful it would be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation could come along with more equality and social inclusion.
How wonderful would it be, even as we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters who orbit around us. In the message, the Pope also noted that despite all our hyper-connectivity, the pandemic has laid bare not only our false securities, but also the inability of the world’s countries to work together to resolve problems that affect us all. The virus, he pointed out, is not only affecting peoples’ health but also the entire social, economic and spiritual fabric of society, adding that It is paralyzing human relationships, work, manufacturing, trade and even many spiritual activities. He said the impact of the crisis on the world’s poor is great, adding that for many of them, the question is indeed one of survival itself. Said he: “With great numbers of children unable to return to school, there is the risk of an increase in child labour, exploitation, abuse and malnutrition.
“The needs of the poorer members of our human family, cry out for equitable solutions on the part of governments and all decision makers. Healthcare systems need to become much more inclusive and accessible to the disadvantaged and those living in low-income countries.” According to the Holy Father, f anyone should be given preference, it should be the neediest and most vulnerable people. He said when vaccines are available, there should be equitable access to them regardless of income, distributing of this essential should always start with the least. Pope Francis also addressed issues of global warming, the ecological crisis and the dramatic loss of biodiversity in the context of the pandemic.
He said this moment of crisis is a summons to the human family to repent and undertake an ecological conversion. Pope Francis also spoke about scenarios that could arise from experiments in the world’s advanced physics and biology laboratories. In this regard, he said, scientists, like politicians, also have a responsibility to halt not only the manufacture, possession and use of nuclear weapons, but also the development of biological weapons, with their potential to devastate innocent civilians and indeed, entire peoples.