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.”
The pope said he asks two things to the person who questions him on abortion: “do I have the right to do this?” and “is it right to cancel a human life to solve a problem, any problem?”
The first question can be answered scientifically, he said, pointing out that by the third or fourth week of gestation, “there are all the organs of the new human being in the womb of the mother, it is a human life.”
Taking a human life is not okay, he said. “Is it okay to hire a hitman to solve a problem? One that kills human life?”
Francis condemned the attitude of the “throwaway culture:” “Children do not produce and are discarded. Discard the elderly: the elderly do not produce and are discarded. Discard the sick or hasten death when it is terminal. Discard so that it is more comfortable for us and does not bring us so many problems.”
He also spoke about the discarding of migrants: “the people who drowned in the Mediterranean because they were not allowed to come, [this] weighs heavily on our conscience… How to deal with [immigration] later, that is another problem that states must approach cautiously and wisely, but letting [migrants] drown in order to solve a problem later is wrong. Nobody does it with intention, it is true, but if you don’t put in the means of help it is a problem. There is no intention but there is intention,” he said.
Encouraging people to avoid selfishness in general, Pope Francis recalled several grave issues affecting the world today, especially war and the lack of education and food for children, which have continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.