In Rare Interview, Pope Francis Urges Compassion, Says ‘We Have To Get Our Hearts To Feel Again’

‘There are so many Pontius Pilates on the loose out there,’ Pope Francis says in rare interview with CBS News.

AP/Alessandra Tarantino, file
Pope Francis at the Vatican, October 18, 2023. AP/Alessandra Tarantino, file

In a rare interview by an American television network, Pope Francis on Sunday frankly discussed the pressing issue of indifference in the world.

Speaking in Spanish in a “60 Minutes” interview, with CBS providing an English translation, the Pope said people worldwide need to get their hearts “to feel again.”

“Do you want me to state it plainly? People wash their hands!” Pope Francis said. “There are so many Pontius Pilates on the loose out there … who see what is happening, the wars, the injustice, the crimes [but who say] ‘That’s OK, that’s OK’ and wash their hands. It’s indifference. That is what happens when the heart hardens … and becomes indifferent.”

The Pope emphasized the need for compassion, urging people to “get our hearts to feel again” to combat what he termed the “globalization of indifference,” which he described as “a very ugly disease.”

On the topic of migration, Pope Francis noted that it contributes positively to a country’s growth. He shared an anecdote: “They say that you Irish migrated and brought the whiskey, and that the Italians migrated and brought the mafia… It’s a joke. Don’t take it badly. But, migrants sometimes suffer a lot. They suffer a lot.”

CBS news anchor Norah O’Donnell, who conducted the interview, mentioned her upbringing in Texas, where a Catholic charity, the Annunciation House, provides humanitarian assistance to undocumented migrants.

Recently, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has attempted to shut it down for aiding undocumented immigrants. The Pope described these actions as “sheer madness.”

“To close the border and leave them there, that is madness,” he said. “The migrant has to be received. Thereafter you see how you are going to deal with him. Maybe you have to send him back, I don’t know, but each case ought to be considered humanely.”

Discussing the sensitive issue of clerical sexual abuse within the Church, Pope Francis stated that such behavior “cannot be tolerated,” and any religious individual found guilty of abuse should face the full force of the law. He noted that significant progress has been made but stressed the need for continued efforts to ensure such abuses do not occur.

“Unfortunately, the tragedy of the abuses is enormous,” he said. “An upright conscience must not only not permit it but put in place the conditions so that it does not happen.”

The New York Sun

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