“Universal charity, solidarity, prayer” Necessary in Combating COVID-19: Ivorian Bishop

Bishop Ignace Bessi Dogbo, Bishop of Katiola, Ivory Coast, President of the Episcopal Conference of the Ivory Coast (CECCI)

There is a necessity for governments around the world to join hands in the fight against COVID-19 if the disease that has infected at least one million people across the globe and claimed tens of thousands of lives is to be managed in good time, an Ivorian Bishop has said.

“The misfortune for which the world stands in today can only be quickly defeated if the fight is carried out in universal charity and solidarity,” Bishop Ignace Bessi has been quoted as saying in a message.

In his Wednesday, April 1 message, Bishop Bessi underscored, “Only solidarity in the face of misfortune, the search for a solution without special interest calculations, and prayer will quickly make us victorious in this pandemic.”

The Local Ordinary of Katiola diocese who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Korhogo diocese in Ivory Coast advocated for “charity from the angle of solidarity” because of the “uncontrolled and indiscriminate spread of the coronavirus.”

The West African country, which has put in place restrictive measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus has reported 178 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death; 15 people have recovered. 

In his message, Bishop Bessi has condemned the actions of some unscrupulous business persons who are exploiting others on food saying, “We cannot take advantage of the situation to do business, using the illness of those suffering from coronavirus.”

“Solidarity in misfortune therefore forbids us to raise prices so that the poorest have something to protect themselves, to take care of themselves, to feed themselves, in the very interest of the rich or the businessman,” the Ivorian Prelate who is also the President of the Episcopal conference of Ivory Coast (CECCI) added.

He went on to urge the managers of the country’s food subsidies in the fight against COVID-19 to be “transparent in all aspects.”

“Through transparency everything that will be released for the fight will be used without restraint, even the least coin used," he emphasized. 

The 58-year-old Prelate has also urged his compatriots to adhere to directives on hygiene and other guidelines that have been issued by the authorities so as to prevent the spread of the virus. 

“Let us not reason like those who think that they should not be the only ones sick with this virus, and that they should spread the evil everywhere,'' the Ivorian Bishop said and added, “Such solidarity in evil is demonic and cannot escape God's judgment.” 

Meanwhile, in neighboring Togo, the Church will mark the World Youth Day celebrations scheduled to take place on Palm Sunday virtually, the Archbishop of Lome, Nicodème Anani Barrigah-Benissan announced Thursday, April 2.

Archbishop Barrigah-Benissan said the virtual meeting with young people will “enable them to experience this event through social networks, if there is no gathering."

“This virtual meeting will consist of a message to the young people, an exchange with them, a time of adoration and a blessing of the thousands of young people and their families from the cathedral of Lomé.” the Togolese Prelate explained. 

Catholic radio stations have been broadcasting more liturgical celebrations in the seven Ecclesiastical Sees that comprise the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Lome since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Health in Togo has reported at least 40 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths; 17 have recovered.

In Africa, a report has shown over 7,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 290 deaths and 4 virus-free countries, which include South Sudan, Lesotho, Comoros and Sao Tome and Principe.


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