Pope Francis calls on global leaders to stay humble or ‘power will ruin you’

Key Points
  • Pope Francis delivered a surprise address at the TED2017 conference in Vancouver
  • In his address, the Pope explained "the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact"
  • The religious leader also made reference to the Good Samaritan parable, "the revolution of tenderness" and overcoming the "culture of waste"

In a surprise TED talk address Tuesday, Pope Francis advised those who had power to act humbly, while appealing for society to not leave individuals behind as the scientific and technological age advances.

Pope Francis speaks during the TED Conference, urging people to connect with and understand others, during a video presentation at the annual scientific, cultural and academic event in Vancouver.
GLENN CHAPMAN | AFP | Getty Images

"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 responsible you are to act humbly," said Pope Francis in a recorded broadcast to an audience in Vancouver.

"If you don't, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other."

Speaking Italian in a video with subtitles for the TED2017 Conference which had the theme "The Future You"; the pontiff was highlighting the importance of tenderness and how it shouldn't be seen as a weakness but rather a path of choice for "the strongest, most courageous men and women".

TED Conferences are held across the world and videos are posted online for free distribution, under the slogan "ideas worth spreading".

Richard Branson
Richard Branson says everyone should watch this TED Talk delivered by a 13-year-old

Pope Francis emphasized the importance of solidarity among individuals, groups and countries during the 18-minute talk; urging society to overcome the "culture of waste" and not forget others as technology evolves.

"How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion," the Pope said in the recording, filmed in Vatican City.

"Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the 'culture of waste,' which doesn't concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people."

The religious leader went on to highlight this importance of unity and compassion, by retelling and referencing the Good Samaritan parable, saying that the story of the Good Samaritan was "the story of today's humanity", whereby people's paths have been riddled with suffering, as "everything is centered around money, and things, instead of people".

However, the Pope went on to add that despite the "darkness of today's conflicts", people had the capability to react against evil and that each and every individual could "become a bright candle".

During the speech, the religious leader put forward three messages about needing one another, technology's relationship to social inclusion, and the "revolution of tenderness"; choosing to end the speech on a note about unity and what may lie ahead for humanity.

"The future of humankind isn't exclusively in the hands of politicians, of great leaders, of big companies," the Pope said in his concluding remarks.

"Yes, they do hold an enormous responsibility. But 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'. We all need each other."

Other leading figures who are expected to be delivering speeches during the five-day conference, which began on Monday, include athlete Serena Williams, World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim, and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. According to Reuters, since TED Talk lectures were uploaded online in 2006, these discussions have been viewed collectively more than 4.6 billion times.