Pope Francis has urged the faithful to use the coronavirus pandemic’s “time of trial” to prepare for a future when inequalities are abolished and the poorest are no longer left behind.
He travelled outside the Vatican walls on Sunday to celebrate Mass at a nearby church to mark a special feast day dedicated to mercy.
Only a few priests were in the pews given Italy’s strict virus lockdown.
“This is not some ideology,” Francis said.
“It is Christianity. We are all frail, all equal, all precious.
“May we be profoundly shaken by what is happening all around us.
“The time has come to eliminate inequalities, to heal the injustice that is undermining the health of the entire human family.”
On Sunday, he delivered a broader message about inequality and the need for a post-virus world to rethink its priorities.
It is a theme that echoes the pre-pandemic preaching of the world’s first Latin American pope, who has constantly demanded greater solidarity among rich and poor.
In recent days, Francis has proposed the creation of a universal basic wage to help those who have lost their jobs as a result of the virus economic shutdown to survive.
To combat that risk, he said: “Let us welcome this time of trial as an opportunity to prepare for our collective future.
“Because without an all-embracing vision, there will be no future for anyone.”