In TED talk, pope urges people to make real connections

IMAGE: CNS photo/

By Keanine Griggs

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — While searching for a connection today often
means looking for Wi-Fi, Pope Francis said real connections between people are
the only hope for the future.

“How wonderful would it be if the growth
of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality
and social inclusion,” he said in a video talk played April 25 for 1,800
people attending TED 2017 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and posted online with subtitles in 20

“How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to
rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us,” the
pope said in the talk that TED organizers had been advertising as that of a
“surprise guest.”

Pope Francis spoke to the international
conference about combating the current “culture of waste” and “techno-economic
systems” that prioritize products, money and things
over people.

“Good intentions and conventional
formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough,” he
said. “Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is
not a statistic or a number. The other has a face.”

Many people in the world move along paths “riddled with suffering” with no
one to care for them, the pope said. Far too many people who consider
themselves “respectable” simply pass by, leaving thousands on “the side of the

“The more powerful you are, the more
your actions will have an impact on people,” he said, the greater the
responsibility one has to act and to do so with humility. “If you don’t,
your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other.”

“There is a saying in Argentina,”
he told his audience: “‘Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach.’
You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up
hurting yourself and those around you, if you don’t connect your power with
humility and tenderness.”

“The future of humankind isn’t
exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies,”
he said, even though they all have power and responsibility. “The future
is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a ‘you’
and themselves as part of an ‘us.'”

Pope Francis said that when he visits someone
who is sick or in prison or has been forced to flee war, he always asks
himself, “Why them and not me?”

Telling the tech-savvy crowd that he wanted
to talk about “revolution,” the pope asked people to join a very
connected and interconnected “revolution of tenderness.”

Tenderness, he said, is “love that comes
close and becomes real,” something that begins in the heart but translates
into listening and action, comforting those in pain and caring for others and
for “our sick and polluted earth.”

“Tenderness is the path of choice for
the strongest, most courageous men and women,” he insisted. “Tenderness
is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of

Pope Francis also urged the crowd to hold on
to hope, a feeling that does not mean acting “optimistically naive”
or ignoring the tragedies facing humanity. Instead, he said, hope is the “virtue
of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness.”

“A single individual is enough for hope
to exist.” he added. “And that individual can be you. And then there
will be another ‘you,’ and another ‘you, and it turns into an ‘us.'”

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a media organization that posts talks online for free distribution, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading.” TED was founded in February 1984 as a conference, which has been held annually since 1990.

– – –

Editors: The pope’s TED talk is online at

– – –

Copyright © 2017 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article