Coronavirus has brought about a spiritual awakening, Hungarian cardinal says

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The joy of Easter must remind us that resurrection will always be stronger than mourning, Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdő, the country’s top Roman Catholic priest, wrote in an article published by conservative daily Magyar Hírlap.

The article, largely a transcript of the cardinal’s Easter Mass, was centered around the theme of fear as typically experienced by humans through the ages but also in a larger, transcendental context.

“In the light of Easter, we have a different view of both the fate humanity and our own lives. We are parts of creation. Our organism can fight many diseases and outside challenges. But as rational and communal beings, we can also consciously fight for more than survival, helping one another towards a more beautiful and meaningful life,” he wrote.

“We know that there were times when humankind did not yet exist, and we can also realize that our Earth’s history will eventually come to an end. But that does not make everything around us become worthless. And the present is not the only time we can cling to.”

Hungary, like other European countries, has implemented strict rules about religious gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak, but some religious authorities believe the crisis has strengthened spiritual bonds despite empty churches.

“It is good to see that in these challenging time the urge to help is awakening, and the many needs we face help reinforce the bonds between generations. It makes us realize how much we are reliant on others. It has also shown us the importance and magnitude of what healthcare workers do for us in these difficult times,” Erdő wrote.

Erdő believes that despite social distancing, that both faith and love have brought people together.

“All of us have been forced to face our responsibilities. We mustn’t only care for ourselves, but the others as well. The need for physical distancing has also made us realize the importance of and need for love and communication,” asserts Erdő.

Although the Hungarian cardinal believes challenges lie ahead, Easter has given the faithful some respite.

“There will be plenty to do going forward. Some are already losing their jobs. Others have had their working hours reduced. Many are afraid of the future. We will need cohesion to begin life anew. Let us therefore cherish joy of Easter! Because it is resurrection, and not mourning that has the final word. The love that is stronger than death.”

Hungary currently has 1,512 confirmed coronavirus cases and 122 casualties.

Title image: Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdő celebrating Holy Mass in Budapest’s St Stephen basilica on Easter Sunday. (MTI/Zoltán Balogh)

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