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Pope Francis Tells U.N.: Put Humanity Before Partisan Interests

The pontiff told the United Nations General Assembly that it is critical that the international community act now to solve problems ranging from climate change to poverty and inequality of opportunity.

We have included a video of the speech above. You can view the full transcript here.

This is our live blog of the address ...

Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET

In conclusion: "Upon all of you, may God bless you all."

Updated at 10:44 a.m. ET

International community needs to act now:

"We cannot permit ourselves to postpone 'certain agendas' for the future. The future demands of us critical and global decisions in the face of world-wide conflicts which increase the number of the excluded and those in need."

Updated at 10:43 a.m. ET

"El Gaucho Martín Fierro, a classic of literature in my native land, says: 'Brothers should stand by each other, because this is the first law; keep a true bond between you always, at every time — because if you fight among yourselves, you'll be devoured by those outside.' "

Updated at 10:41 a.m. ET

"The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic."

Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET

" ... the danger comes neither from progress nor from science; if these are used well, they can help to solve a great number of the serious problems besetting mankind. ... Among other things, human genius, well applied, will surely help to meet the grave challenges of ecological deterioration and of exclusion."

Updated at 10:37 a.m. ET

"... I would mention another kind of conflict which is not always so open, yet is silently killing millions of people. Another kind of war experienced by many of our societies as a result of the narcotics trade. A war which is taken for granted and poorly fought. Drug trafficking is by its very nature accompanied by trafficking in persons, money laundering, the arms trade, child exploitation and other forms of corruption."

Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET

On international inaction:

"Human beings are easily discarded when our only response is to draw up lists of problems, strategies and disagreements."

An apparent reference to ISIS:

"I must renew my repeated appeals regarding to the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups, and even members of the majority religion who have no desire to be caught up in hatred and folly, have been forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative either of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives, or by enslavement."

And further ...

"Not only in cases of religious or cultural persecution, but in every situation of conflict, as in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan and the Great Lakes region, real human beings take precedence over partisan interests, however legitimate the latter may be."

Updated at 10:32 a.m. ET

On weapons of mass destruction:

"An ethics and a law based on the threat of mutual destruction — and possibly the destruction of all mankind — are self-contradictory and an affront to the entire framework of the United Nations, which would end up as 'nations united by fear and distrust.'"

"There is urgent need to work for a world free of nuclear weapons, in full application of the non-proliferation Treaty, in letter and spirit, with the goal of a complete prohibition of these weapons."

"The recent agreement reached on the nuclear question in a sensitive region of Asia and the Middle East is proof of the potential of political good will and of law, exercised with sincerity, patience and constancy. I express my hope that this agreement will be lasting and efficacious, and bring forth the desired fruits with the cooperation of all the parties involved."

Updated at 10:27 a.m. ET

"War is the negation of all rights and a dramatic assault on the environment. If we want true integral human development for all, we must work tirelessly to avoid war between nations and between peoples."

Updated at 10:24 a.m. ET

More on the destruction of the environment:

"The ecological crisis, and the large-scale destruction of biodiversity, can threaten the very existence of the human species. The baneful consequences of an irresponsible mismanagement of the global economy, guided only by ambition for wealth and power, must serve as a summons to a forthright reflection on man."

Updated at 10:23 a.m. ET

"At the same time, government leaders must do everything possible to ensure that all can have the minimum spiritual and material means needed to live in dignity."

They are: lodging, labor and land.

Updated at 10:18 a.m. ET

"Our world demands of all government leaders a will which is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences: human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labour, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime."

"Such is the magnitude of these situations and their toll in innocent lives, that we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences."

Updated at 10:14 a.m. ET

More on climate change and inequality:

"The poorest are ... cast off by society, forced to live off what is discarded and suffer unjustly from the abuse of the environment. They are part of today's widespread and quietly growing 'culture of waste.'"

Updated at 10:11 a.m. ET

On climate change:

".... it must be stated that a true "right of the environment" does exist, for two reasons. First, because we human beings are part of the environment. We live in communion with it, since the environment itself entails ethical limits which human activity must acknowledge and respect."

"Any harm done to the environment ... is harm to humanity."

"Man is not authorized to abuse it [the environment], nor is he authorized to destroy it."

Updated at 10:08 a.m. ET

On international justice:

"To give to each his own, to cite the classic definition of justice, means that no human individual or group can consider itself absolute, permitted to bypass the dignity and the rights of other individuals or their social groupings."

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET

In an apparent reference in part to the International Monetary Fund, he said to applause from the delegates:

"The need for greater equity is especially true in the case of those bodies with effective executive capability, such as the Security Council, the Financial Agencies and the groups or mechanisms which were specifically created to deal with economic crises. This will help limit every kind of abuse or usury, especially where developing countries are concerned. The International Financial Agencies are should care for the sustainable development of countries and should ensure that they are not subjected to oppressive lending systems which, far from promoting progress, subject people to mechanisms which generate greater poverty, exclusion and dependence."

Updated at 10:03 a.m. ET

The pope's speech started a bit early. After opening remarks, he said:

"An essential response, inasmuch as technological power, in the hands of nationalistic or falsely universalist ideologies, is capable of perpetrating tremendous atrocities. I can only reiterate the appreciation expressed by my predecessors, in reaffirming the importance which the Catholic Church attaches to this Institution and the hope which she places in its activities."

"Certainly, many grave problems remain to be resolved, yet it is clear that, without all those interventions on the international level, mankind would not have been able to survive the unchecked use of its own possibilities. Every one of these political, juridical and technical advances is a path towards attaining the ideal of human fraternity and a means for its greater realization."

And here's our original post ...

Pope Francis began a busy day in New York by heading to the United Nations, where at 10:20 a.m. ET., he will become the fourth pontiff to address the world body.

As he's done in front of Congress and in speeches throughout Washington, Francis is expected to address climate change and the migrant crisis in Europe.

We'll update this post throughout the day with the latest. Via The Washington Post, we've also embedded live video of the events at the top of this post.

Update at 8:34 a.m. ET. Schedule For The Day:

Pope Francis begins his day at the United Nations. He's scheduled to speak at 10:20 a.m. ET.

At 11:30 a.m. ET., he will attend a multi-religious service at the Ground Zero memorial.

At 4 p.m. ET., he visits Our Lady Queen of Angels School in Harlem, where he will meet third- and fourth-grade students from Catholic schools in Harlem.

At 6 p.m. ET., he will celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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