Pope Francis appears on a weekly religious programme of the RAI, Italy’s public broadcaster, which was recorded on 27 May and broadcast a week later. The Pope offered his thoughts on world challenges and social issues, encouraging all to pray and find strength in their faith.
By Salvatore Cernuzio and staff reporter
Pope Francis became the guest star of Italy’s television programme on faith and religion called “A Sua immagine” (‘In His image’), a weekly broadcast by RAI, the nation’s public broadcaster. The Pope dialogued on a host of issues and social challenges, especially the world situation.
In speaking about the quest for world peace, he said, “It’s a story as old as humanity: with peace you always come out ahead, maybe a little but you gain, whereas with war you lose everything. Everything! And so-called gains are losses.” The Pope recalled Pius XII’s appeal in his 1939 radio message to leaders of the world when, on the eve of World War II, he said, “Nothing is lost with peace. All can be lost with war.”
Pope Francis makes this warning his own, recalling the conflict in Ukraine that wounds Europe but also all the wars and violence that mark the world. He decried the glamorizing of violence, especially torture, which we are seeing in wars and even the media, whereas it is a terrible reality that must be stopped.
Positive role media can play
The RAI broadcast featured video link-ups, reports on people and challenges they face, live testimonials with Pope Francis interacting and commenting. The programme recording took place a week before the 4 June Sunday broadcast.
Pope Francis revealed that he had never been in such a television studio, or watched much television before, as when he grew up, there was no television yet, he quipped.
Regarding the important role media play, he said “the media must help people discover and understand one another, help make friends, and send help rid of the evils that can ruin people’s lives.” He said this positive emphasis does not mean only talking about religion and God, very important, but always safeguarding and remembering the human dimension, our common humanity.
Jubilee, an opportunity for forgiveness
The discussion also focused on important Church events, including the forthcoming Jubilee in 2025 that the Pope described as an occasion “to bring everyone closer to each other, with God, to resolve problems, to forgive…one of the most beautiful things about people is (offering) forgiveness.”
Recalling his own personal memories, he spoke of his grandmother, Rosa, the first to teach him love for the Blessed Mother: “She used to talk to me about St. Joseph and Our Lady, but always Jesus at the center.” He added that the centrality of Christ is important in discerning the veracity of Marian apparitions that are reported. He notes that “there have been true apparitions of Our Lady but always with the finger like this (pointing) to Jesus, not drawn to herself.
Dealing with suffering
Speaking on the theme of grief during the programme, the parents of a gravely-ill, five year-old girl joined the broadcast in studio. Their daughter, Angelica, died the day before the Pope was discharged from Rome’s Gemelli Hospital on 1 April. The Pope met them in front of the hospital and offered his embrace to the grieving mother, a moment captured by media present at the time.
The Pope recalled the importance of “tenderness” and of “accompanying suffering” noting that often times just being there or gestures, not words are most helpful, as “there are no words for pain, only gestures, and silence.”
Message to parents and teachers
The Pope also reiterated what he called “the style” of God, recalling dimensions such as “closeness, compassion and tenderness.” He said this must be taught to children as “there is no way out: either we choose the way of love, of tenderness, or we choose the way of indifference.”
The Pope also encouraged parents to “to educate showing limits” because doing otherwise causes harm, saying children “need the caress, the love, but also the ‘no’ of love. No to tantrums.” He said the same for teachers, who help you learn, grow, but also teach discipline needed in life.