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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Pope Francis backs George Floyd protests, slams COVID skeptics

Pope Francis defended the protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death as a fight for “human dignity” — while blasting demonstrations against COVID-19 restrictions in a new book that he authored during the Vatican’s lockdown.

In the book “Let Us Dream,” the 83-year-old pontiff addressed the killing of Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis cop pressed his knee on his neck for several minutes.

“Abuse is a gross violation of human dignity that we cannot allow and which we must continue to struggle against,” he wrote of Floyd and the wave of protests that erupted across the world after his death.

But the pontifex criticized others demonstrating against COVID-19 lockdowns “as if measures that governments must impose for the good of their people constitute some kind of political assault on autonomy or personal freedom!”

“You’ll never find such people protesting the death of George Floyd, or joining a demonstration because there are shantytowns where children lack water or education,” he wrote. “They turned into a cultural battle what was in truth an effort to ensure the protection of life.”

The 150-page book, which was ghostwritten by his English-language biographer Austen Ivereigh, is due out Dec. 1.

The cover of
Simon & Schuster via AP

Though the pope praised journalists covering how the pandemic impacted the poor, he slammed media organizations that “used this crisis to persuade people that foreigners are to blame, that the coronavirus is little more than a little bout of flu, and that restrictions necessary for people’s protection amount to an unjust demand of an interfering state.”

“There are politicians who peddle these narratives for their own gain. But they could not succeed without some media creating and spreading them,” he wrote.

In the book, Francis said that he could relate to COVID-19 patients fighting for their lives because of his own health ordeal that resulted in part of his lung being removed when he was a student in Buenos Aires 63 years ago.

“I know from experience the feeling of those who are sick with coronavirus, struggling to breathe as they are attached to a ventilator,” he said, adding that health ordeal made him feel as if he was “hanging between life and death.”

“For months I didn’t know who I was, if I would live or die, even the doctors didn’t know. I remember hugging my mother one day and asking her if I was about to die.”

With Post wires

Read More at NYPost

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