Latest Statement of the Holy Father

Pope: Humanity must change our relationship with Earth's Limited Resources

The good that appears as beautiful carries with it the reason why it must be done. This is the first thought that arose for me after reading this beautiful dialogue between Carlo Petrini, whom I have known and esteemed for years, a gastronome and activist known all over the world, and Gaël Giraud, a Jesuit economist whose contributions I have recently appreciated in La Civiltà Cattolica, where he writes qualified articles on economics, finance, and climate change.

I would like to highlight a significant fact: the fact that in these pages Petrini and Giraud, one a 70-year-old activist, the other a 50-year-old economics professor, i.e., two adults, find in the new generations established reasons for trust and hope. Usually, we adults complain about young people, indeed we repeat that the 'past' times were certainly better than this troubled present, and that those who come after us are squandering our achievements. Instead, we must admit with sincerity that it is the young people who embody the change we all objectively need. It is they who are asking us, in various parts of the world, to change. Change our lifestyle, so predatory towards the environment. Change our relationship with the Earth's resources, which are not infinite. Change our attitude towards them, the new generations, from whom we are stealing the future. And they are not only asking us, they are doing it: taking to the streets, demonstrating their dissent from an economic system that is unfair to the poor and an enemy of the environment, seeking new ways forward. And they are doing it starting from the everyday: making responsible choices about food, transport, consumption.

Young people are educating us on this! They are choosing to consume less and experience interpersonal relationships more; they are careful to buy objects produced following strict rules of environmental and social respect; they are imaginative in using collective or less polluting means of transport. For me, seeing that these behaviours are spreading to become common practice is cause for consolation and confidence. Petrini and Giraud often refer to youth movements that, in different parts of the world, advance the demands of climate justice and social justice: the two aspects must be kept together, always. I believe that this book is a precious gift, because it shows us a road and the concrete possibility of following it, at an individual, community and institutional level: the ecological transition can represent an area in which we all, as brothers and sisters, take care of the common house, betting on the fact that by consuming fewer things and living more personal relationships we will enter the door of our happiness.

By Pope Francis: Vatican City, 11 April 2023

Pope tells Catholic educators to forge open and humane minds.

We need to form young people who are “catholic” in the sense of, “universal” Pope Francis said, “We need minds, hearts and hands” that are able to go beyond the constrictions of ideology and speak the language of humanity. In his address to members of the Organization of Catholic Universities in Latin America and the Caribbean (ODUCAL) whom he received in the Vatican on Thursday, 4 April, the Pope reflected on the growing gap between the rich and the poor and on the wounds that afflict his “beloved” Latin American continent. Inequality, social and economic crises, and ideological and political polarizations appear to plunge the continent into chaos, he said, but that is where God operates in the most beautiful and creative ways.

Pope Francis encouraged ODUCAL representatives to “contribute to the formulation of policies that are relative to education”, both in a national and cross-border context. “The pandemic and its consequences have aggravated political and military contexts across the world, ideological polarizations seem to close the doors to efforts for development and a yearning for liberation,” he said. The current crises, the Pope continued, provide not only the opportunity to take stock of the obsolescence of economic systems and models, but drive us to go beyond solutions that fuel prejudice based on ideology and lead to cultural exclusion.

Thus, the Holy Father continued the duty of a network like ODUCAL is that of forming “catholic minds” that are capable of working towards the common good. If the word “university” derives from “universe” – all existing matter and space considered as a whole – the adjective “catholic” reinforces and gives inspiration to this concept, the Pope said.

During his lengthy address in Spanish, Pope Francis upheld the Global Compact on Education that he himself launched in 2020 during the Covid-19 emergency to encourage change on a global scale, so that education may become an antidote to individualistic culture and a transformative process of hope grounded in solidarity and a vision of a common future. He said the Catholic Church and Catholic Universities have a crucial role to play in this as they strive to form men and women with a “missionary heart” and who have learnt the language “of humanity.”

By Linda Bordoni: 04 May 2023

Pope Francis urges ethical use of Artificial Intelligence

Pope Francis has applauded the benefits of technology and artificial intelligence, when used for the common good, but has warned against using AI unethically or irresponsibly. He did so when addressing the 'Minerva Dialogues,' a high-level annual gathering of scientists and experts, organized by the Vatican's Dicastery for Education and Culture, on Monday in the Vatican. The assembly brings together experts from the world of technology – scientists, engineers, business leaders, lawyers, and philosophers -and representatives of the Church – curial officials, theologians, and ethicists – with the aim of studying and fostering greater awareness of the social and cultural impact of digital technologies, particularly artificial intelligence.

Technology is, and has been, he said, "immensely beneficial" to our human family, especially in the fields of medicine, engineering, and communications. In acknowledging the practical benefits of science and technology, he noted, "we also see them as evidence of the creativity of human beings and the nobility of their vocation to participate responsibly in God's creative action." "From this perspective," he said, "I am convinced that the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning has the potential to contribute in a positive way to the future of humanity." "At the same time," Pope Francis cautioned, "I am certain that this potential will be realized only if there is a constant and consistent commitment on the part of those developing these technologies to act ethically and responsibly." “It is reassuring to know that many people in these fields are working to ensure that technology remains human-centred, ethically grounded and directed toward the good.”

“I would therefore encourage you, in your deliberations, to make the intrinsic dignity of every man and woman the key criterion in evaluating emerging technologies; these will prove ethically sound to the extent that they help respect that dignity and increase its expression at every level of human life.” Pope Francis said. "It is a source of concern to me that evidence to date suggests that digital technologies have increased inequality in our world," he lamented. “We cannot allow algorithms to limit or condition respect for human dignity, or to exclude compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and above all, the hope that people are able to change.” Pope Francis said.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov: 27 March 2023

Pope: Use education to fight the culture of indifference

The education of young people, the Pope continued, provides new opportunities to grow and learn about oneself. Pope Francis said, “[Education] helps the younger generation to grow, discovering and cultivating the most fruitful roots so that they bear fruit.” In Georgia, “a young country but one with an ancient history,” Pope Francis said their university represents the long and fruitful collaboration between Catholics and Orthodox in the cultural and educational spheres.

In his address, Pope Francis noted that the word “education” in the Georgian language, “ganatleba,” comes from the word “light:” Education, like a lamp placed in a dark room, has the ability to change the appearance of everything. In a world filled with the darkness of hatred, the Pope said there is a strong need for the “illumination of knowing,” which in of itself restores the memory of the past and sheds light on the present.

It is through culture and education that we can restore the “memory of the past and shed light on the present, which is “indispensable for the growth of a young person” and of society. Young people are essential in this role, Pope Francis continued, as their courageous joy and love of life allow faith and joy to be cultivated. Concluding his address, the Pope encouraged the members to be a “gentle light” for young people; a light that opens up horizons and expands boundaries to others.

By Sophie Peeters: 13 February 2023

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