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.”