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Pope Francis: We need unity in the Catholic Church, society, and nations

By Hannah Brockhaus for CNA

Pope Francis speaks to a reporter from Italy's Canale 5 in a screen grab from clips of the interview broadcast Jan. 9, 2020, on the channel's sister station, TGCOM24. (CNS screen grab)

Rome Newsroom, Jan 10, 2021 / 02:30 pm (CNA).- In the face of political discord and self-interest, we have an obligation to promote unity, peace, and the common good in society and in the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said Sunday.

“At this moment, a politician, even a manager, a bishop, a priest, who does not have the ability to say ‘we’ is not up to par. ‘We,’ the common good of all, must prevail. Unity is superior to conflict,” the pope said in an interview that aired on Italian news program Tg5 Jan. 10.

“Conflicts are necessary, but right now they have to go on vacation,” he continued, noting that people have a right to different points of view, and “political struggle is a noble thing,” but “what matters is the intention to help the country grow.”

“If politicians emphasize more self-interest than the common interest, they ruin things,” Francis stated. “The unity of the country, of the Church, and of society must be emphasized.”

The papal interview took place following the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building Jan. 6 by pro-Donald Trump protestors, as Congress was in the process of certifying the presidential election results.

Francis said in a video clip from the interview, released Jan. 9, he was “astonished,” by the news, because the U.S. is “a people so disciplined in democracy, right?”

“Something isn’t working,” Francis continued. With “people taking a path against the community, against democracy, against the common good. Thanks be to God that this has broken out and there was a chance to see it well so that now you can try and heal it.”

In the interview, Pope Francis also commented on the societal tendency to discard anyone who is not “productive” to society, especially the sick, the elderly, and the unborn.

Abortion, he said, is not primarily a religious issue, but a scientific and human one. “The problem of death is not a religious problem, be careful: it is a human, pre-religious problem, it is a problem of human ethics,” he said. “Then religions follow it, but it is a problem that even an atheist must solve in his conscience.”

The pope said he asks two things to the person who questions him on abortion: “do I have the right to do this?” and “is it right to cancel a human life to solve a problem, any problem?”

The first question can be answered scientifically, he said, pointing out that by the third or fourth week of gestation, “there are all the organs of the new human being in the womb of the mother, it is a human life.”

Taking a human life is not okay, he said. “Is it okay to hire a hitman to solve a problem? One that kills human life?”

Francis condemned the attitude of the “throwaway culture:” “Children do not produce and are discarded. Discard the elderly: the elderly do not produce and are discarded. Discard the sick or hasten death when it is terminal. Discard so that it is more comfortable for us and does not bring us so many problems.”

He also spoke about the discarding of migrants: “the people who drowned in the Mediterranean because they were not allowed to come, [this] weighs heavily on our conscience… How to deal with [immigration] later, that is another problem that states must approach cautiously and wisely, but letting [migrants] drown in order to solve a problem later is wrong. Nobody does it with intention, it is true, but if you don’t put in the means of help it is a problem. There is no intention but there is intention,” he said.

Encouraging people to avoid selfishness in general, Pope Francis recalled several grave issues affecting the world today, especially war and the lack of education and food for children, which have continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They are serious problems and these are just two of the problems: children and wars,” he said. “We must become aware of this tragedy of the world, it’s not all a party. To get out of this crisis head on and in a better way, we must be realistic.”

Asked about how his own life has changed during the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis admitted that at first, he felt like he was “caged.”

“But then I calmed down, I took life as it comes. Praying more, speaking more, using the phone more, taking some meetings to solve problems,” he explained.

Papal trips to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia were canceled in 2020. In March this year, Pope Francis is scheduled to travel to Iraq. He said, “now I don’t know if the next trip to Iraq will take place, but life has changed. Yes, life has changed. Closed. But the Lord always helps us all.”

The Vatican will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine to its residents and employees next week, and Pope Francis said he has “booked” his appointment to receive it.

“I believe that, ethically, everyone has to get the vaccine. It is an ethical option because it concerns your life but also that of others,” he stated.

Recalling the introduction of the polio vaccine and other common childhood immunizations, he said, “I don’t understand why some say this could be a dangerous vaccine. If doctors present it to you as something that can be fine and has no special dangers, why not take it?”

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  1. Holy Father,
    If we need unity, please stop being a source of division. Stop treating your own flock with contempt. Stop pursuing policies counter to what your predecessors have taught.

    • Wow is that haughty arrogance Johann du Toit.
      The US is the world leader in contempt to the poor, the down trodden, homeless and hungry, with in the US, and outside.
      Unbridled Capitalism, the hanging of a Twenty Trillion dollar debt on future generations is the worst crime against humanity in all of world history of a government on its own people, the future generation, the children, in all of world history..
      The United States contribution to the Genocide of Yemen, is the worst crime against another nation in all of humanity.. A country that has attacked no one else, but rather tried to free itself of a corrupt government.. An action as evil as US ally Stalin in take over and making Russia Communistic, in the Catholics were slaughtered, priests and nuns abused and slaughtered, and Catholic churches blowen up.
      Russia in made communistic, is the vial and corrupt place on Earth today, due to its pre ally to the United States of in World WAR Two.. Today, the USA patterns itself after, Communistic Russia.
      Even this site promotes Pells book on the corrupting o f the Catholic Church..

      • First, the US is #1 in the world in care for the poor both domestically and internationally. Whenever there is a disaster, which country sends billions as well as material aid? Second, capitalism has raised trillions out of poverty. Yes, there are rapacious business people but it is not the rule. If you can keep Democrats from having control of the economy, the debt would fall.

      • The national debt is a product of government action, not “unbridled capitalism,” and the amount is not $20 Trillion, but $27 Trillion. Maybe we should go back to the gold standard, or the silver standard, or at least some kind of standard. The rest of your commentary conflates too much with too little.

      • Genocide in Yemen; unbridled capitalism; orange man bad; help the poor; orange man bad!! You’re sounding like a broken record Lyle. Why are you repeatedly posting these bigoted and false tirades on this site? You should remember Jesus’ admonition: “let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Since you aren’t doing anything to help the poor, you’re in no position to lecture anyone.

      • How can an abstract collection of non-monolithic value systems among hundreds of millions of individual diverse people have such a thing as “contempt for the poor.” And what is stopping you? Would you like to assist me with my dirty capitalist money, hardly a fortune, but enough to enable me to rebuild a few Churches and water treatment plants in Catholic missions in the poorest locations of India. You can find me if you really desire to.

  2. The pontiff-idolator calls for unity? Such call from him is a call into his darkness.

    We can assume he means unity with his abortionist friend Frau Ploumen, and his master General Secretary Xi, and his occult mistress Pachamama.

  3. I’m not as skeptical about this vaccine as some are but when the Holy Father recalls the introduction of the polio vaccine and wonders why we are fearful, he perhaps has forgotten the incidents in the early days of polio inoculations when children became paralyzed after receiving the vaccine.
    The polio vaccine has been tweaked since then and has prevented much suffering but my daddy remembered those early tragedies and steered clear of vaccines the rest of his life.

    • I’ll wait until the vaccine has been around awhile for us to discover the long-term effects. Besides, my husband and I have had COVID twice already since last March. Apparently, immunity only lasts about 3-6 months.

      • My brother lives in the UK & he was told by his doctor that he may have had it twice also. I’m not sure how that works but he was ill again in July & tested positive. Perhaps the virus just hung on for 3 mos.?
        I keep thinking that eventually we’re all going to find out we were wrong about Covid in some respect. But right now it’s too early to know exactly what part we’re wrong about.

        • “May” have had it twice is inaccurate information. Nose swabs do not give accurate readings for Covid, pro or con. If you have not had a BLOOD DRAW tested for antibodies, you can not KNOW you have had covid. People are so hysterical they assume ANY illness is covid. I was sick in April. The blood center is still calling me to donate covid Plasma to help others. I have done so 4 times and am scheduled for a 5th donation in a few weeks.The last time I donated was 8 months out from my illness.This immunity appears to depend upon the individuals’ biology.

  4. I echo the sentiment that too often it has been the pope’s comments which have been filled with contempt for his own people and a cause of disunity especially because everything he says is broadcast to the entire world. I hope he changes that; the sooner the better. As for the vaccines, we have guidance already from the 2005 PAL letter to Mrs Vinnedge and a number of other documents. Why then does he presume to act as the conscience for “everyone” and contradict the guidance that’s already been given? Is he unaware or uncaring toward the moral coercion that exists because mothers and children are compelled to receive vaccines made (produced, developed or tested) by the use of aborted fetal cell lines…how can we not think of these children who have been exploited as being just like our own, but less fortunate and used as objects.

  5. We need strong, moral leadership, in all three.

    Also, if all life comes from the Creator then how is abortion not first a religious issue?

  6. Life is sacred and a precious gift. Children, the elderly, the poor, the rich, the insider, the outsider – they are all made in the image and likeness of the divine – declare Holy Scriptures.

  7. “Abortion is not primarily a religious issue, but a scientific one”. Pope Francis also commented on the societal tendency to discard anyone who is not “productive”. Common good absent justice principles can be adverse to individual interests. All as said by Francis appears well and good except when taken in context. Common good is beneficial when rights are respected, both individual and religious. Abu Dhabi, Pachamamma, Fratelli Tutti, and yes Amoris Laetitia, which has divided adherents to Apostolic Tradition from Amoris’ personal choice ethics, taken together require mitigation of religious specificity. Unity, a good, is not benevolent when secular global interests, population control, dissolution of religious specificity become the means to achieve unity. As seems the theme of Fratelli. We find abortion, euthanasia addressed in ecologic terms as a throwaway issue, defined more a scientific, human issue. We may correctly say it’s more a human Natural Law issue rather than specific to a religion. Scientific takes us elsewhere to utility and scientific practicality rather than conviction of the sanctity of life.

    • If we’re the one true Faith as we claim then it’s a religious issue.

      Murder is not utility and scientific practicality; am I wrong?

      • You miss his point. Pure science applied to value judgments, are inherently utilitarian which, in itself, is not necessarily guided by ethics. Every episode of mass murder in human history has been justified while abusing claims of “science” to justify such actions. The Nazis exterminating what they called the inferior was merely an application of Darwinian principles. Tyranny and prison camps in communist states was justified as “scientific” reengineering of social structures.

      • True we can’t deny it’s a religious issue for Catholics. However, it’s not narrowed to an issue for a religion, because abortion is killing of the innocent, an evil that is universally true both as regards civil law as well as natural law and any legitimate religion.

  8. I believe in unity is very important and all life is important and I also believe our Catholic Traditions and beliefs should never be compromised. Be kind to everyone, never hateful. All are brother’s and sisters in Christ. Do not be confused, being kind doesn’t mean doing things which go against our beliefs, we cannot condone wrong doing or anything which does not agree with living according to God’s will, have courage and be faithful. Have a blessed week!

  9. Good to hear the gentle , healing voice of The Spirit , through the words spoken without guile , by the Holy Father .
    The Mother , holding his hands , to help point the finger , like that of Prophet Nathan – ‘ you are the man ‘ , to any one who has condoned the hiring of the hit man to fill hearts and families , with selfishness , its hatreds and despair .. in a land dedicated to the Immaculate Conception , that speaks of the truth of the grace and wisdom given to the soul , even in the earliest stages , to say with the holy angels – ‘love and glory to You Lord , for the gift of my life and that of the other ..’

    The Holy Father , in his oneness in The Spirit and His groanings ,in calling all children of The Mother ,all of humanity , to help bring forth the new oceans and waves of same through the lands and families of all – to live in the glorious destiny of each of us , to bring the Most Holy Trinity , our continuous acts of love and praise and adoration , for the gift of creation , the gift of His Love, in our families , parents and grandparents , St.Joseph and all saints .
    The 4 blessed occasions we are invited to celebrate this year by the Holy Father to help the unleashing of new oceans and waves of holiness and purity , to inundate and cleanse all that is from the demonic realms that have been called by the rebellious self will to instead be occasions to plead for the Reign of the Divine Will and its newness in peace and holiness for all .
    Fiat !

  10. Unity, common good, cooperation all good and fuzzy words on the surface. However, I think the Holy Father’s emphasis is for one world borderless government where everything is controlled, appropriated and adjudicated to “desirable” outcomes (for whom? by whom?). Why then, the use for God?

  11. I find Francis words Unbelievable! Francis, do you remember the Franciscans of the Immaculate who’s founder is still under house arrest? Cardinal Burke? The Bishop in Paraguay when you suspended him without reason, had the locks on his doors changed? You literally through him out into the streets and an Eastern Orthodox Bishop gave him shelter. Have you read “The Little Book of Insults” where all your divisive words have been recorded? And now you allow females to be Lectors and Acolytes, which is a violation of Divine Law as pointed out by St. John Paul the Great in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which the Holy Father confirmed it was an infallible Papal declaration. I’m sorry Francis but we have no reason to believe anything you say.

  12. Pope Francis, please change your position on so called “climate change” because your insulting God. Saying CO2 is destroying earth is saying you think God didn’t know what He was doing when He created all life based on CO2 and O2. Green vegetation produces 02, which we need to live on, and we produce CO2 along with animals which plants need. The more CO2, the more vegetation grows.

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