Pope Francis has been killing it ever since setting foot in the US two days ago. He started off by canonizing the first Hispanic saint in the country (missionary Junípero Serra), became the first Pontiff to ever address a joint session of the US Congress and today, he dropped some Francis-style truth on the UN General Assembly.
In a speech that lasted a just over 40 minutes, the Pope covered extremely controversial topics such as the legal framework for international finance organizations, drug trafficking, nuclear weapons and climate change, the last issue being emphasized with particular nuance and vigor.
He even made time to drop some Argentine knowledge on the UN by quoting Martín Fierro, one of the country’s most famous books written by José Hernández which all Argentines have had to read in school:
“The gaucho Martín Fierro, a classic book from my native land sings: ‘Let brothers be united, because that’s the first law. Have a true union in any time that goes, because if they fight each other, they get devoured from outside.’ He then proceeded to drop the mic.
Putting national pride aside for a sec, let’s go through his main statements.
On Climate Change
In keeping with what he has been saying since the release of his encyclical, the Pope highlighted the need to tackle environmental issues head on: “It is fundamental. Man is not authorized to destroy nature. Abuse and destruction lead to an unstoppable process of exclusion,” stated Francis, who later added that the poor often suffer from this the most: “There are three main reasons why: They’re left aside by society, forced to live off of what other people throw away and suffer the consequences of the environment.”
“Ecological crisis, along with the destruction of a large part of bio-diversity can put the very existence of the human race at risk. The terrible consequences of an irresponsible government of the world’s economy, only guided by the search for profit and power, have to be a call for mankind to reflect.”
On Financial Organizations
“We have to avoid all types of abuse to development countries. Organizations must not have a suffocating mission towards them. Far from promoting progress they submit nations to a larger system of poverty and dependence,” said the Pontiff about the largely discussed subject.
On Drug Trafficking and Corruption
Francis pointed out that the issue of drug trafficking hasn’t been properly addressed despite the fact that it continues to take millions of lives every year and undermines the trust many have in important social and governmental institutions: “It has penetrated through different circles of society and in many cases, it generates a parallel structure which risks our institutions’ credibility.”
On Banning Nuclear Weapons
“We have to strive for a world without nuclear weapons, firmly applying the treaty of non-proliferation towards the prohibition of these instruments,” stated the Pope, who also showed his support for the Iran nuclear deal: “It’s a proof of political good will and law exercised with patience. I hope for the deal to be effective and fruitful to every party involved in it.”
Francis finishes his visit to New York today, and will wrap up his tour this weekend in Philadelphia.