Pope Francis greets Neapolitans during his visit to Naple in June, 2019 Pope Francis greets Neapolitans during his visit to Naple in June, 2019 

Pope Francis: It is time for humanity to change course

In an interview published Sunday by “Il Mattino” for the 130th anniversary of the Neapolitan newspaper, Pope Francis addresses a wide-range of topics, from war to the difficulties of the Italian south to those of the world; from politics as the highest form of charity to the scourge of organised crime and the devastation of the environment, with a particular reference to the Terra dei fuochi and the floods in the Marche region of Italy.

By Christopher Wells

In a wide-ranging interview with Neapolitan newspaper Il Mattino, Pope Francis emphasizes once again the need to address the ongoing problems of war, pandemic, and poverty by working together for the common good. “Only by discovering what unites us, brothers and sisters, will we find the way out of the crisis we are going through, which did not begin today…”

Although the interview focused especially on issues facing Naples and southern Italy, Pope Francis made it clear that the problems they are facing “are global issues,” questions that “concern the future of the whole world.”

“We have not awakened to wars and planetary injustice, we have not listened to the cry of the poor, and of our gravely ill planet.”

A time to change course

Pope Francis insisted on the need to “change course,” saying we are all challenged to do so. Today, he said, “is a time of trial, a time of choice… It is time to reset the course.” In particular, he pointed to the need for sustainable and integral development and new ways of understanding the economy and progress; of debt-relief for developing countries; and the need to put an end to the exploitation of the earth, the arms race; and, the exploitation of people, especially children.

In order to respond to these crises, the Pope said creativity directed to the common good is necessary, while repeating once again that the course we choose to pursue is important.

Justice and forgiveness, the pillars of true peace

Addressing the question of war, Pope Francis said that today we are measured by the war in Ukraine, but also by many other wars. He quoted St John Paul II, who, writing in the wake of the terrorist attack on 9/11, said that “the shattered order cannot be fully restored until justice and forgiveness are combined.” “The pillars of true peace are justice and forgiveness, which is a particular form of love,” he said, adding, “There is a time for everything. Before forgiveness comes the condemnation of evil. It is essential, however, not to cultivate war, but to prepare peace, to sow peace.”

Ecological commitment must be a priority

The Pope also addressed the issue of care for the environment, especially in the context of the Terra dei Fuochi (the “land of fires”) near Naples, and the recent devastating floods in the Italian region of Marche. He repeated once again that “everything is connected,” saying we must “start again” from this awareness. “Today, it is indispensable,” he said, “that every single person and the entire international community assume as a priority the ecological commitment to collegial, solidarity-based, and far-sighted actions.”

Politics, the highest form of charity

The interview with the Holy Father touched on a number of other topics, including the role of the Church in politics, which the pope described as “the art of encounter” and “the highest form of charity”; the “scourge” of organized crime; and what the world can learn from the Global South in terms of solidarity and its relationship with time, with history, and with the land.

The full text of the Pope Francis’ interview, in the original Italian, can be found on our Italian page:



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18 September 2022, 13:01