Zampini-Davies: Church won’t wait for politicians

Fr Augusto Zampini-Davies, who is currently leading the Vatican's post-COVID19 task force, has said that the people of God are not going to wait for political leaders to make the changes the world needs, but 'are going to move it forward ourselves'.

In the latest talk in the series Lockdowns from Lauriston to an online audience of more than 1,000 people, Zampini-Davies said Pope Francis had asked the task force to “prepare the future”, and not simply to react to future problems. "We are called to a new imagination of the possible with the realism that only the gospel can give."

As adjunct secretary of the human development dicastery, Zampini-Davies is leading the Church's work on the response to the pandemic. One of his key themes was leadership, particularly the idea that in times of crisis we need to go beyond ideologies, and that can only be done with strong leaders - although he added they may not necessarily be in official positions of power. The Pope emerges at this moment as a world leader not just a religious leader, and we were left feeling genuinely optimistic about gospel values taking centre stage in the global response to the current crisis. We were reminded of Moses, whose role was not only to lead his people to new places, but to remind them of their relationship with God.

The Vatican's route-map seems impressive, with clear stages, targets and mechanisms highlighted for the short, medium and long term, and involves collaboration with local churches, the development of resources and catechesis.

But this was not just about well thought-out documents and policies, instead it is about a profoundly creative approach, using this as a moment of opportunity to bring about massive change centred on the desire to protect ‘the last’-those most vulnerable- and the environment.

Conversion is a key part of this: something that ‘can take us to new shores’, with spirituality a guiding force, allowing us to resist the temptation to simply wish to reset or restart our pre-covid lives, at the cost of the environment and the poor, but looking instead to regeneration and new life.