“It is imperative to end the exploitation of the poorest!”, Pope Francis cried today in an audience with members of the Pro Petri Sede (For the See of Peter) Association, a foundation active in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in the collection funds for the initiatives of the Pope and the Holy See.

– “It is imperative that the atrocities cease in the countries prey to wars that lead so many people to the path of exile!”

Full text of the Pope’s greeting

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am pleased to welcome you and to meet you, as members of the Pro Petri Sede Association, during your pilgrimage to Rome. Like St. Peter, you have been guided on your path by the love of Christ. And by gathering around the tomb of the one who shed his blood for his Master and Savior, you make an act of faith that allows you to renew yourself spiritually.

This pilgrimage also gives you the opportunity to make your financial and spiritual contribution to the social and charitable works related to my pastoral mission and to the activities of the Holy See.

Following in the footsteps of your predecessors, you participate in the missionary action of the Church that fights for the integral human development of each person.

Indeed, the human person must always be defended and protected in their integrity and dignity, whatever their origin or social condition.

In the unbridled race for possessions, career, honour or power, the weak and the little ones are sometimes ignored and rejected.

In fact, “in the frenzy of running, of achieving everything right now, anyone left behind is viewed as a nuisance. And considered disposable. How many elderly, unborn, disabled and poor persons are considered useless!” (Homily at the Mass of the World Day of the Poor, November 17, 2019).

That is why the Church, holding to the preferential option for the poor, relies on men and women of good will and imbued with the Gospel to bring the peace and joy of the Risen One to every needy person.

Through your charitable contribution to the life of the Church you become the salt and the light (cf. Mt 5,13-14) that give so many people a taste for life.

Dear friends, I express my gratitude for your constant help to my responsibility as the successor of St. Peter.

Today we face several challenges that affect the human family and its common home.

At the centre of our concerns is the cry of anguish of the peoples who suffer, in particular, from wars, the displacement of persons, poverty and the degradation of the ecosystem.

It is imperative to end the exploitation of the poorest! It is imperative that the atrocities cease in the countries prey to wars and conflicts that lead so many people to the path of exile!

I would like to insist on the care of our common home, launching once again the call for an ecological conversion.

Your testimony of Christian life, which is manifested through generosity and attention to others, invites us all today to combat the widespread climate of individualism, selfishness and indifference, which threatens both peace between people and the environment.

I invite you to stand firm in your convictions and in your faith, to be a flame that brings hope to the hearts of men and women today. Like St. Peter, go out with courage and share the great love that Christ has revealed to us.

I entrust each of you, your families, and all the members of your association to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Peter and the saints of your countries. I impart with all my heart the apostolic blessing. And please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you!

(Source: Vatican Press Office; translation: Novena)

– Encouragement to child protection experts: “Evil can always be overcome”

In other news from the Pope, the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for the Protection of Minors (CEPROME) of the Pontifical University of Mexico (UPM) released a video message from Francis Sunday in which the pontiff congratulated the Centre’s members for their commitment to the prevention of child abuse and invited them to continue working for the protection of minors.

Through a video published on CEPROME’s social networks, the Pope assured the members of the Centre – whom he called “apostoles” of abuse prevention – that working to put an end to crimes against children and against people in situations of vulnerability “is an act of very great love”.

“You are fighting everywhere to prevent, with the force of good, all the destruction that evil wreaks. When you see what evil is capable of destroying, one sometimes gets down”, Francis admitted.

But the Pope recalled that “evil can always be overcome. [Evil] only triumphs for a few days, for a short time; it never has the victory for all time. It has a short life, but it must be fought to be overcome: don’t be afraid”.

“I know you suffer with this. Keep working: you will be misunderstood, they’re going to tell you you’re wasting your time, You will be threatened, because there are those who are threatened. More than one will tell you that they are capable of hiring a hit man to clean up the field…”

“Be prudent, take care of yourselves, but keep being brave, and keep working”, the Pope urged the CEPROME child protection experts.

Next on Novena:

In message for Lent, Pope hits out at “idolatry” of “unbridled thirst for profit”, appeals for “more just and inclusive” economy

“No excuses or prudent caution”: From Bari, Pope urges Christians to “extremism of love”

“Bulwark in defence of the least”: Francis insists on importance of law, punishment in Church and State

Pope insists on World Social Justice Day on “rights” and “immense dignity” of poor and abandoned

Pope pleads for economy based on “inclusion, care for our Common Home and integral human development”

Pope agitates for global economic reform: “A rich world can and must put an end to poverty”

Pope scores anti-abuse hat-trick: “epochal” legal reforms and removal of assault-accused nuncio in Paris


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.