As 2020 comes to a close in the final weeks, Pope Francis gave his thoughts on the events that shaped a year of turmoil across the world.
One of the many issues that stood out in “Let Us Dream,” a 150-page book ghostwritten in the 83-year-old pontiff’s words, was his defense of the protestors who stood up against police brutality across the nation after the killing of George Floyd.
As one of the most respected public figures, he viewed the moment as a fight for “human dignity” and feels there is a struggle for equality in the U.S. overall. “Abuse is a gross violation of human dignity that we cannot allow and which we must continue to struggle against,” he wrote of the aftermath of Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. The Pope also concluded that the protesters were fighting a “cultural battle” in an effort to protect life.
Floyd, a well-known resident in the Minneapolis, Minn. community, died on May 25 following an altercation, resulting in a police officer kneeling on the back of his neck for over eight minutes as he struggled to breathe.
One of the most universal points made by the pope was his condemnation of people fighting against the Coronavirus outbreak. Those thoughts were fresh on the pontiff’s mind as he co-authored the book during the near worldwide lockdown in March. Francis took aim specifically at anti-mask protesters saying “They are incapable of moving outside of their own little world.” He went on to say, “As if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!”
The pontiff said in the book he could relate to those afflicted with COVID-19. He went into detail about having his lung removed when he was a student in Buenos Aires at the age of 20. “For months I didn’t know who I was if I would live or die, even the doctors didn’t know. I remember hugging my mother one day and asking her if I was about to die,” he said.
As for the journalist covering events around the world, Francis felt they were right in covering the stories of the impoverished during the pandemic. He did however slam media outlets for using this crisis to “persuade people that foreigners are to blame, that the coronavirus is little more than a little bout of flu, and that restrictions necessary for people’s protection amount to an unjust demand of an interfering state.”
The news of the pope’s new writings comes on the same day he met with a delegation of five NBA players to discuss their efforts of addressing social justice and economic inequality. An invitation was extended by the Vatican to the player’s union after the Pope asked to be more aware of the league’s initiatives. Michele Roberts, the executive director of the player’s association, was joined by Marco Belinelli, Anthony Tolliver, Kyle Korver, Sterling Brown and, Jonathan Isaac.
“Let Us Dream”, written in collaboration with Francis and his English-language biographer Austen Ivereigh, is due out Dec. 1.