Pope Francis arrived in Athens during the third day of his five-day apostolic journey to Cyprus and Greece.
In an address in which he cited Homer, Aristotle, and the Hippocratic Oath, the Pope emphasized that participatory democracy arose in Greece. “Yet we cannot avoid noting with concern how today, and not only in Europe, we are witnessing a retreat from democracy.” Threats to democracy, he said, include authoritarianism, populism, the “distance of institutions,” and bureaucracy.
“Politics is, and ought to be in practice, a good thing, as the supreme responsibility of citizens and as the art of the common good,” he continued. “So that the good can be truly shared, particular attention, I would even say priority, should be given to the weaker strata of society.”
Pope Francis also discussed a number of other topics, from truth, beauty, and the Logos, to the pandemic, climate change, and refugees, to Greece’s Christian heritage, abortion, and euthanasia. The Pontiff called for “safeguarding life at every moment, particularly in the mother’s womb. The right of all to care and treatment must always be respected, so that those most vulnerable, particularly the elderly, may never be discarded: that the elderly may not be subject to a ‘throwaway culture’. . . . For life is a right, not death. Death is to be accepted, not administered.”