Pope Francis on Sunday criticized people who traveled abroad “to escape lockdown” during the pandemic, saying they ignored those who were suffering.
In his weekly Sunday lunchtime address, Francis said, “I read something in the newspapers that made me very sad: In a country – I don’t know which one – to escape the lockdown and have a nice vacation, they started more than 40 planes this afternoon. ”
“These people are good people, but haven’t they thought of those who stayed home, of the economic troubles of many people who have been hit by the pandemic, of those who are sick?” Francis added. They thought, “just to go on vacation to have fun.”
“That makes me really sad,” Francis said on a streamed message from the Apostolic Library of the Vatican. Usually the Pope blesses the faithful on Sundays from a window in a palace above St. Peter’s Square, but Italy has been closed for 10 days and the square is closed.
It is not clear which report the Pope was referring to, or where the travelers were going and where they were going. On Saturday, the New York Times reported that more than half a million Americans went to Mexico in November alone, but that article gave nothing about the number of planes on any given afternoon.
While there are relatively few travel restrictions in Mexico, many countries have stricter measures – and many have been tightened since a more transmissible variant of the virus was first identified in the UK. And international travelers are often ordered or asked to quarantine for a week or more upon arrival.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization reported that international arrivals were down 72 percent in the first 10 months of 2020, and it expects the drop for the full year in tabular form will be between 70 and 75 percent.
On Sunday, the Pope repeated his request that all peoples and nations work together to fight the pandemic.
“We know that as we work together, with God’s help, for the common good, and focus on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, things will get better,” Francis said.
“We don’t know what 2021 will mean to us, but each of us and all of us together can make a commitment to take care of each other and creation, our common home,” rather than thinking about our own interests, Francis said.