Pope says he was ‘astonished’ by violence at Capitol
January 9, 2021 • Catholic News Service

ROME (CNS) — Pope Francis said he was “astonished” by the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol, especially because the people of the United States are “so disciplined in democracy.”

In an interview with Italy’s Canale 5, scheduled for broadcast Jan. 10, the pope was asked about Trump supporters storming the Capitol, leaving five people dead.

Violence, he said, must always be condemned, but it also is true that in even the most “mature” societies, there are violent minorities, “people taking a path against the community, against democracy, against the common good.”

“But thank God this erupted and people could see it well. That way it can be remedied,” he said.

“No nation can brag about never having a case of violence — it happens,” he said. “We must understand it, so it is not repeated — learn from history, right?”

The full interview was scheduled to air Jan. 10, but clips were aired Jan. 9, including a segment where Pope Francis spoke about the COVID-19 vaccine.

From an ethical point of view, he said, “I think everyone must take the vaccine; it’s the ethical option because you are playing with your health, life, but you also are playing with the lives of others.”

Sometime in the week beginning Jan. 11 the Vatican expects to begin vaccinating residents and employees who have asked to be vaccinated, “and I signed up; it must be done.”

Pope Francis recalled that when he was a child, polio was a real threat, “and many children were left paralyzed and people were desperate for a vaccine. When the vaccine came out, they gave it to you with a bit of sugar.”

“I don’t know why some people say, ‘No, the vaccine is dangerous,’ but if physicians present it to you as something that will do good, that doesn’t carry particular dangers, why not take it?” he said.

Pope Francis said he could not explain “suicidal denialism,” but “people must take the vaccine.”

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