In an interview, broadcast on BBC Radio Four's Today programme, this morning (Monday), Pope Francis spoke about why he sees Covid-19 as a potential turning point in history. In the recording, taken from a longer interview in Spanish with papal biographer Austen Ivereigh, and read by Joseph Balderrama, the Pope criticised the "hypocrisy of certain political personalities" and spoke out about the need to address climate change and help the poor.
Pope Francis said the pandemic "is affecting us all rich and poor alike and putting a spotlight on hypocrisy."
He added: "I am worried by the hypocrisy of certain political personalities who speak of facing up to the crisis of the problem of hunger in the world but, who in the meantime, manufacture weapons."
Pope Francis said the pandemic presented an "opportunity" to challenge rampant consumerism and combat climate change: "Today I believe we have to slow down our rate of production and consumption and to learn to understand and contemplate our natural world."
He added: "I see early signs of an economy that is more human. But let us not lose our memory once all this is past. This is the time to take the decisive step to move from using and misusing nature, to contemplating it."
Pope Francis also criticised how present society disempowers the poor and said that to "restore their humanity," people need to see the poor as "people" rather than as "part of the landscape."
He said: "To 'see' the poor means to restore their humanity. They are not things, not garbage. They are people. We can't settle for a welfare policy such as we have for rescue animals and we often treat the poor like rescued animals. We can't settle for a partial welfare policy."
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will be giving Radio 4's Thought for the Day at the end of this week and is expected to comment on the Pope's remarks.
Listen to Monday's broadcast here: www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08hfx13