Stop hurling insults and listen, Pope Francis tells politicians

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

ROME, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Politicians should lower the volume of their debates and stop insulting each other, Pope Francis said on Friday, adding that leaders should be open to dialog with perceived enemies or risk sowing the seeds of war.

"Insulting has become normal," he said in a 45-minute-long improvised talk to university students in Rome. "We need to lower the volume a bit and we need to talk less and listen more."

Francis, the son of Italian migrants to Argentina, also warned against anti-immigrant movements and urged that newcomers be treated "as human brothers and sisters."

While the pope spoke mostly in general terms about the need for more dialog in society as he answered questions from four students at the Roma Tre campus, he singled out politicians.

See the Pope's mass for prisoners

12 PHOTOS
Pope Francis holds Vatican mass for prisoners
See Gallery
Pope Francis holds Vatican mass for prisoners

Pope Francis celebrates a Holy Mass in front of a thousand prisoners, prison chaplains and volunteers in St. Peter's Basilica on November 6, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican.

(Photo by Andrea Franceschini/Corbis via Getty Images News).

Pope Francis leaves at the end of a Jubilee mass for prisoners in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Pope Francis celebrates a Jubilee mass for prisoners in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

A Swiss Guard on duty as Pope Francis celebrates a Holy Mass in front of a thousand prisoners, prison chaplains and volunteers in St. Peter's Basilica on November 6, 2016 in Vatican City, Vatican.

(Andrea Franceschini/Corbis via Getty Images News)

Pope Francis celebrates a Jubilee mass for prisoners in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Pope Francis celebrates a Jubilee mass for prisoners in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 6, 2016.

(REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Pope Francis leads a mass for the Jubilee of Inmates, on November 6, 2016 at St Peter's basilica in Vatican. One thousand prisoners -- including some lifers -- take part in a special event at the Vatican this weekend, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries will had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at Saint Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass for Jubilee of Prisoners in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican on November 06, 2016. One thousand prisoners take part in a special event at the Vatican, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at St. Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(Photo by Giuseppe Ciccia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Pope Francis leads a mass for the Jubilee of Inmates, on November 6, 2016 at St Peter's basilica in Vatican. One thousand prisoners -- including some lifers -- take part in a special event at the Vatican this weekend, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries will had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at Saint Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis leads a mass for the Jubilee of Inmates, on November 6, 2016 at St Peter's basilica in Vatican. One thousand prisoners -- including some lifers -- take part in a special event at the Vatican this weekend, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries will had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at Saint Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis leads the Holy Mass for Jubilee of Prisoners in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican on November 06, 2016. One-thousand prisoners took part in a special event at the Vatican, along with 3,000 family members, prison staff and volunteers. The prisoners from 12 countries had yesterday the opportunity to confess and walk through the 'Holy Door' at St. Peter's Basilica, a Jubilee tradition by which Catholics can ask forgiveness for their sins.

(Photo by: Giuseppe Ciccia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"In the newspapers, we see this one insulting that one, that one says this about the other one," he said.

"But in a society where the standards of politics has fallen so much - I am talking about world society - we lose the sense of building society, of social co-existence, and social co-existence is built on dialog."

He spoke of "political debates on television where even before one (candidate) finishes talking, he is interrupted."

Francis did not single out any countries for criticism. Italian political talk shows are often shrill and last year's U.S. presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were peppered with insults.

In one debate last September, for example, Trump called Clinton a "nasty woman" and she accused him of having "engaged in racist behavior."

Francis urged everyone to seek "the patience of dialog."

He added: "Wars start inside our hearts, when I am not able to open myself to others, to respect others, to talk to others, to dialog with others, that is how wars begin."

Check out posters criticizing the Pope

16 PHOTOS
Anonymous posters criticizing the Pope appear in Rome
See Gallery
Anonymous posters criticizing the Pope appear in Rome
A poster depicting Pope Francis and accusing him of attacking conservative Catholics is seen in Rome, Italy, February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A worker covers with a banner reading "illegal poster" a poster depicting Pope Francis and accusing him of attacking conservative Catholics is seen in Rome, Italy, February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi
A worker covers with a banner reading "illegal poster" a poster depicting Pope Francis and accusing him of attacking conservative Catholics is seen in Rome, Italy, February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Pope Francis speaks as he leads the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Pope Francis holds a candle as he leads the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Pope Francis holds a candle as he arrives to lead the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Pope Francis leads the weekly audience in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Pope Francis greets a child as he arrives to lead the weekly audience in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Pope Francis arrives to lead the weekly audience in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican February 1, 2017. REUTERS/Max Rossi
Pope Francis leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Pope Francis leads the Second Vespers at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside The Walls in Rome, Italy January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Pope Francis blesses a baby as he arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis waves as he leads his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass to mark the closing of a Jubilee year for the 800th anniversary of the official foundation of the Dominican Order in Saint John Basilica in Rome, Italy January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis celebrates a Mass to mark the closing of a Jubilee year for the 800th anniversary of the official foundation of the Dominican Order in Saint John Basilica in Rome, Italy January 21, 2017. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The pope also warned against anti-immigrant movements, which have grown in the United States and a number of European countries, including Italy.

"Migrations are not a danger. They are a challenge for growth," he said, adding it was important to integrate immigrants into host countries so they keep their traditions while learning new ones in a process of mutual enrichment.

He said immigrants should be welcomed "first of all as human brothers and sisters. They are men and women just like us." (Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Tom Heneghan)


Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners

This Elephant Was Separated From Her Mother As A Baby - But She's About To Get A Huge This Elephant Was Separated From Her Mother As A Baby - But She's About To Get A Huge
19 of the Creepiest, Most Inexplicable Things People Ever Experienced 19 of the Creepiest, Most Inexplicable Things People Ever Experienced
Man Built This Contraption In His Backyard - And Even He Was Surprised How Well It Worked Man Built This Contraption In His Backyard - And Even He Was Surprised How Well It Worked