POPE FRANCIS has hit out at anti-mask protesters around the world and their opposition to the Covid-19 restrictions put in place to curb the impact of the coronavirus.
Demonstrators have taken to the streets of Dublin and Belfast on several occasions over the past few months to speak out against what they perceive as a draconian set of rules impacting on personal freedoms.
However, the Pope has given short-shrift to such actions, contrasting the protests with the “healthy indignation” he saw in the demonstrations against racism that following the senseless death of George Floyd.
In quotes from the book, Let Us Dream: A Path to a Better Future, is derived from conversations between the Pontiff and his British biographer Austen Ivereigh, the Pope hit out at those who claim “that being forced to wear a mask is an unwarranted imposition by the state”.
“Some groups protested, refusing to keep their distance, marching against travel restrictions – as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom,” he said.
“You’ll never find such people protesting the death of George Floyd, or joining a demonstration because there are shantytowns where children lack water or education, or because there are whole families who have lost their income,” he said. “On such matters they would never protest; they are incapable of moving outside of their own little world of interests.”
The book centres on the Pope’s response to the coronavirus crisis and sees Pope Francis also take aim at those governments who appeared to prioritise their country’s economy over saving lives.
“With some exceptions, governments have made great efforts to put the wellbeing of their people first, acting decisively to protect health and to save lives,” the pope said.
He later adds that in some instances, however, “governments have mortgaged their people.”
While the Pope supported the reaction to the “horrendous” death of Floyd and the “many people who otherwise did not know each other took to the streets to protest, united by a healthy indignation” he was opposed to the pulling down of statues, calling it an attempt at “amputating history”.
“A free people is a people that remembers, is able to own its history rather than deny it, and learns its best lessons,” he said.