July 1, 2022
From La Croix International
Francis speaks on a wide range of topics in interview to the Argentine state news agency.
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis, in an interview to the Argentine state news agency Telam, reflected on the world situation today, the conflict in Ukraine, which he said was a time to rethink the concept of a just war, the post coronavirus situation, the importance of youth, role of the United Nations, the environment and his pontificate. Telam provided an English translation that Vatican News published on July.
“The conflict in Ukraine is very close, so we are alarmed, but let’s think of Rwanda 25 years ago, or Syria the last 10 years, or Lebanon with their infighting, or Myanmar at this moment. What we are seeing today has actually been happening for a long time”, he said. “Unfortunately, war is daily cruelty. War is not about dancing the minuet, it is about killing. And there is an entire structure for the sale of arms that favors it”, he said. “I believe it is time to rethink the concept of a ‘just war'”, Francis said. “A war may be just; there is the right to defend oneself. But we need to rethink the way that concept is used nowadays. I have said that the use and possession of nuclear weapons are immoral. Resolving conflicts through war is saying no to verbal reasoning, to being constructive.”
The world today
Francis spoke about what he calls the three evils of our times: narcissism, despondency, and pessimism, prevalent in today’s world. Narcissus, obviously, looked at himself in the mirror. And that way of looking is not looking forward, but turning in on oneself and licking your own wounds. Actually, what makes one grow is the philosophy of otherness”, he said. “But there is one thing that really helps to fight narcissism, despondency, and pessimism: a sense of humor. It is so humanizing. There is a beautiful prayer by Saint Thomas More that I have prayed every day for over 40 years, that begins this way: “Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. Grant me a sense of good humor. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke …” “A sense of humor puts things in perspective and is very good for us. It goes against that pessimistic, lamenting spirit”, he said.
The coronavirus pandemic
Speaking on the state of the world recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, pope Francis pointed out that it has grown in some aspects, “but, in general, I don’t like it because it has become selective …” The mere fact of Africa not having many vaccines or having a minimum amount of doses means that salvation from the disease has been rationed by other interests. The fact that Africa is in need of vaccines indicates that something has not worked well”, he said. The pope also reiterated that “we don’t come out from a crisis the same as before, we come out either better or worse, I also say we don’t come out from a crisis on our own. It is either all of us or none of us.
With regards to young people, the pope pointed out their lack of political commitment. “When young people see that in their countries, as the saying goes, “even one’s mother is up for sale” for the sake of business, then political culture is in decay. And that is why they do not want to get involved in politics. Nevertheless, we need them because they are the ones who have to lay out the salvation for universal politics”, he said. “Young people must understand the science of politics, of coexistence, but also of the political struggle that cleanses us of selfishness and carries us forward. It is important to help young people in that social and political commitment, and also to protect them from being duped”, Francis said.
The pope also spoke on humanity’s relationship with the environment, a recurring theme of his pontificate and an issue on which he has written the encyclical Laudato Si’. “We are not living in harmony with the creation, with the universe. We slap it every so often. We use our strength in a wrong way. Some people can’t imagine the danger in which humanity is right now with this global warming and this abuse of nature”, the pope said. “Everything is connected, it is harmonious. It is impossible to think of humankind without nature and it is impossible to think of nature without humankind. Just like that passage in Genesis: “Grow, multiply and fill the Earth.” Filling the Earth is being in harmony with it, to make it fruitful. We must have that vocation”. he said.
The United Nations
The pope talked about the inability of the United Nations to prevent wars. “After World War II, trust was placed in the United Nations. It is not my intention to offend anybody, I know there are very good people working there, but at this point, the U.N. has no power to assert its authority”, he said. “It does help to prevent wars … to resolve a conflict like the one we are seeing in Europe right now or like others around the world, it has no power. I don’t mean to offend. It is just that its Constitution does not give the organization that kind of power”, he added.
Francis also reflected on the time he has been pope. “Everything I have done was neither my invention nor a dream I had after a night of indigestion. I picked up everything that we the cardinals had said at the pre-Conclave meetings, the things we believed the new pope should do”, he said. “Then, we spoke of the things that needed to be changed, the issues to tackle. I carried out the things that were asked then. I do not think there was anything original of mine. I set in motion what we all had requested”, Francis said. “For example, the Curia reform concluded with the new apostolic constitution Praedicate Evangelium, which—after eight-and-a-half years of work and inquiries—managed to include what the cardinals had asked”, he said. “These were not ideas of my own. I want that to be clear. These were ideas born from the requests of the entire College of Cardinals”, Francis pointed out.