Pope Francis praised health care workers and criticized those who are protesting restrictions imposed by governments to stop the spread of COVID-19 in a New York Times op-ed. The piece is an adaptation from the pontiff’s new book but the timing raised more than a few eyebrows considering it was published less than a day after the Supreme Court struck down restrictions on religious services that had been put in place due to the pandemic.
In the piece, Francis recalls when he was seriously ill with pneumonia while he was a young man studying for the priesthood. “I have some sense of how people with COVID-19 feel as they struggle to breathe on a ventilator,” he said. As he has detailed before, Francis wrote about how he made it through thanks to nurses who understood his illness better than doctors and increased his dosage of antibiotics and painkillers. “They taught me what it is to use science but also to know when to go beyond it to meet particular needs,” he wrote. “And the serious illness I lived through taught me to depend on the goodness and wisdom of others.”