VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The war in Ukraine and regional wars in different parts of the world demonstrate that “those who govern the destinies of peoples have not yet absorbed the lessons of the tragedies of the 20th century,” Pope Francis said.

Meeting March 14 with Italian business owners promoting ethical practices, the pope said that to promote the common good, both politics and economics must “place themselves decisively at the service of life — human life and the life of creation, our common home — not at the service of non-life or death, as unfortunately sometimes happens.”

Pope Francis met with the business leaders shortly after having a 30-minute private conversation with Prime Minister Eduard Heger of Slovakia.


The prime minister told Vatican News that his visit was scheduled to thank Pope Francis for visiting his country in September, but it became an opportunity to discuss the war in Ukraine and, especially, Slovakia’s efforts to assist almost 205,000 people from Ukraine who had crossed the border into Slovakia since Feb. 24.

Meeting with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, and with Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Vatican foreign minister, the Vatican said, “the talks continued with an in-depth discussion of the war in Ukraine and its impact at regional and international levels, with particular attention to the humanitarian situation and the reception of war refugees.”

Earlier, with the business leaders, Pope Francis spoke about how after the global financial crisis of 2007-2008 there seemed to be a push to actually govern financial markets and institutions and ensure they were at the service of the common good.

“But it seems to me that substantially the world has continued and continues to be governed by obsolete criteria,” the pope said. “Not to mention the geopolitical-military sphere, where various regional wars, and especially the ongoing war in Ukraine, show that those who govern the destinies of peoples have not yet absorbed the lessons of the tragedies of the 20th century.”