The pope also addressed the recent mass shootings in the United States, including the Independence Day parade shooting near Chicago, pointing to the “serious social problem” that led these young men to commit such acts of violence. Francis called such actions “diabolical” and questioned why “young people are so dissatisfied that they feel fulfilled only by destroying.”
The proliferation of weapons is tied to the culture of war, the pope said, and raises the question of how to monitor the sale of weapons. This culture of violence permeates all societies, he added, including the drug cartels in Mexico where many priests are killed every year.
While the war in Ukraine has garnered global attention, the pope said, “for years we have been living the Third World War in bits, in chapters, with wars everywhere.” Asked why he didn’t directly condemn Russia and its leader, President Vladimir Putin, for the aggression, the pope said he prefers “to talk about the victims rather than the perpetrators.”
Accusing Russia “is not a way to keep the door open to someone’s conscience,” he continued, adding that he “laughs” when detractors accuse him of being pro-Putin. “People’s ability to express their opinion has no limit,” he said, adding such pronouncements are more often than not a response to the latest message they saw on Twitter.
The pope said he still plans to visit the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv “soon” and plans to meet with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill during a religious meeting in Kazakhstan in September. Francis also said he plans to apologize to the Indigenous peoples when he visits Canada July 24-31 for the “cruelty” of those who tried to eliminate their culture, including Catholic clergy.
On the question of the inclusion of women in the Vatican offices that make up the Roman Curia, Francis said “the door is open” for a woman to one day occupy the second highest position at the Vatican as secretary of state. Francis’ new apostolic constitution, “Praedicate Evangelium” (Preach the Gospel), allows for lay individuals to lead Vatican offices and departments.
The pope also said “the pot has been uncovered” concerning the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church, but the problem will persist as long as we live in a society where people continue to be physically and psychologically abused.
Francis also touched on the subject of human traffiking and migration, urging people to show compassion and avoid generalizations. “Human dramas have a face,” the pope said. “Let’s make decisions by looking at the faces of those people.”
This article originally appeared here.