Pope Francis speaks to journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona Pope Francis speaks to journalist Fabio Marchese Ragona 

Pope: Much can be done to stop Third World War fought piecemeal

Pope Francis speaks to Italian reporter Fabio Marchese Ragona in an interview on Canale 5, offering his thoughts on the spread of war in our world and encouraging us to look to the Child Jesus as Christmas approaches.

By Francesca Merlo

Pope Francis spoke on Sunday on Italian television about several timely topics in an interview with Vatican-reporter Fabio Marchese Ragona, on the programme "Il Natale che vorrei" (The Christmas that I would like). The Holy Father spoke about various important topics, from war to the poor and the World Cup.

A war fought piecemeal

Speaking initally about Ukraine, Pope Francis noted that we are living a third world war fought piecemeal, saying that although Ukraine feels closer, there has been a terrible war in Syria for 13 years, as well as in Myanmar and "everywhere in Africa". "The world is at war," he said. 

Pope Francis then pointed to something that causes him great worry: an "attitude of indifference". In the face of so many poor people, refugees, and people who are suffering this Christmas, there is a terrible attitude of indifference, said the Pope.

He recalled an imagine of a lady in a fur coat and gloves ignoring the cries for help of a lady on the street as she exits a restaurant. "The worst that can happen to us is to look away," said the Pope.

A sad Christmas

"Please measure Christmas spending, limit it," he said. "This is a sad Christmas, a Christmas of war. There are people starving. Please have a big heart and do not spend as if nothing is happening." He noted that there are children playing with pieces of Russian missiles, as they go hungry while other people starve. 

Pope Francis went on to speak of the corruption scandal surrounding the European Union. He pointed out that we are all sinners, and that we must all ask for forgiveness, but added that although we are all sinners, we are not all corrupt.

"Sinner yes; corrupt never," he said, adding that this attitude frightens him. 

Humility in victory

Before knowing that Argentina would be the FIFA World Cup champions, the Pope asked that the winners "live with humility" and that those who do not win "live it with joy because the greatest value is not to win or lose, but to play clean, to play well."

We can always do more

Noting that the Holy Father will soon be celebrating ten years of his pontificate, Fabio Marchese Ragona asked whether there was anything he had not accomplished which he wished to. 

There are always things to be done, answered the Pope. He recognised that the Council of Cardinals and the Secretariat for the Economy are "moving forward", but said there is always more that can be done.

“This is important: we can have a very organised Curia, a very organised parish, a very organised diocese, but if there is no missionary spirit, if you don't pray in there, nothing moves ahead. Prayer is important.”

Look at the Child of hope 

Finally, Pope Francis offered a Christmas message for all those who had been listening.

"Look at the Child; look at the star. One more child is hope." Although He was born poor and persecuted, Jesus still brought hope.

"To each of you listening," the Pope concluded, "I would like to ask that the Lord give you the tenderness of a child, that we do not lose human tenderness, that He might help us, and that He might give you the light of the star."

And finally, he blessed everyone and wishes us a "good and holy Christmas."

“May the Lord bless you and may Our Lady keep you.”

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19 December 2022, 09:38