Msgr Janusz Urbańczyk, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the OSCE 

By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ

Mar 17 2021

The Holy See’s representative at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) underlines the importance of solidarity, humane economic models, and equitable access to vaccines as indispensable elements in the world’s fight against the devastating effects of the ongoing health emergency.

Monsignor Janusz Urbańczyk has highlighted the necessity of crafting a more solid ethical framework based on global solidarity and care, as well as ensuring the equitable distribution of vaccines as important means of combating the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its effects.

The Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was speaking on Monday during a meeting of the OSCE dedicated to discussing the important topic of post-Covid-19 recovery, as well as opportunities and challenges for security and regional cooperation.

Effects of the pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic, Monsignor Urbańczyk highlights, “is posing a multifaceted threat of simultaneous and interlinked health, economic and social crises that are severely impacting our models of co-existence at the local, regional and international level.”

In fact, it has not only seriously aggravated already existing emergencies with regard to food, migration and the economy, it has also “provided a fertile soil for the dissemination of a climate of isolation and mistrust that has increasingly fractured our societies and even relations among States,” he notes.

Echoing Pope Francis’ words: “we do not do not emerge from a crisis the same as before, either we come out of it better, or we come out of it worse,” the Monsignor stresses that in light of the current situation, there is no other alternative but to “recognize our common vulnerability and seek shared solutions for the journey ahead.”

Covid-19: an opportunity for transformation

Even in the face of the challenges caused by the pandemic, Monsignor Urbańczyk notes that it provides “a concrete opportunity for transformation” for rethinking our way of life, as well as our economic and social systems that widen the gap between the rich and the poor “based on an unjust distribution of resources.”

This, he explains, will depend on “our ability to craft a more solid ethical framework based on global solidarity and care for our planet. To this end, our primary aim is to ensure universal access to healthcare, particularly the equitable distribution of the vaccines.”

“While the vaccine may offer protection against the virus,” Urbańczyk insists, “it will not cure longstanding social ills, including inequality, and the virus of indifference.”

Building a humane economic model

To combat social ills, Monsignor Urbańczyk stresses the need to reshape the relationship between individuals and the economy “towards a more inclusive, humane model that encourages subsidiarity, supports economic development at the local level and invests in education and infrastructure benefiting local communities.”

He further notes that when the economy truly serves integral human development, “trust in relationships at all levels is reinvigorated” resulting in a more effective dialogue aimed at strengthening security and cooperation within the OSCE region and beyond.

Concluding his speech, Monsignor Urbańczyk reiterates the Holy See’s conviction that the OSCE will grow stronger “when all of us take joint action in the face of global threats.” He also emphasizes, in the words of Pope Francis, that “along with vaccines, fraternity and hope are, as it were, the medicine we need in today’s world.” – Vatican News