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Pope warns powerful to act humbly or risk ruin in TED talk

Wed., April 26, 2017, 9:26 a.m.

Pope Francis salutes at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (Andrew Medichini / Associated Press)
Pope Francis salutes at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (Andrew Medichini / Associated Press)

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is warning the powerful to act humbly or risk ruin, in a TED talk in which he urges the world to show more solidarity with the poor and weak.

Francis delivered a videotaped talk to a TED conference in Vancouver on “The Future You,” the first ever by a pope. TED, short for Technology, Entertainment and Design, organizes conferences around the world aiming to spread ideas through short talks.

The Vatican released the video Wednesday. In it, Francis outlined his vision of the interconnectedness of humanity, saying that with age he has grown increasingly convinced that “none of us is an island.”

“Please allow me to say it loud and clear: The more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more you are called to be humble,” he said. “If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin others.”

Francis pleaded for greater solidarity to be considered in political, economic and scientific endeavors.

“How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us,” he said. “How wonderful would it be if solidarity – this beautiful and sometimes inconvenient word – were not simply reduced to social work and became instead the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices.”

Francis’ participation in the TED conference marked a new era for the Vatican’s communications operation, which has increasingly sought to get the pope’s message out via social media and nontraditional news sources.