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Pope Francis CBS Interview Preview

Norah O’Donnell, anchor and managing editor of the CBS EVENING NEWS, spoke exclusively with Pope Francis in Rome today ahead of the Vatican’s inaugural World Children’s Day. Tonight, Wednesday, April 24, O’Donnell broadcasted the show live overlooking the Vatican and featured an excerpt from the historic discussion with the supreme pontiff.

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The pope shared his reflections on the state of the world and called for countries at war to negotiate: “A negotiated peace is better than a war without end.”

The conversation marked the first time a pope has given an in-depth, one-on-one interview to a U.S. English-language broadcast network. It is a first-of-its-kind papal interview for an American television journalist.

Read more on CBSNews.com, in addition to a transcript of the interview highlights below:

*Transcript reflective of translation

POPE FRANCIS ON UKRAINE AND RUSSIA:

NORAH O’DONNELL: Do you have a message for Vladimir Putin when it comes to Ukraine?

POPE FRANCIS: Please, countries at war, all of them… Stop the war. Look to negotiate. Look for peace. A negotiated peace is better than a war without end.

POPE FRANCIS ON THE WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL AND GAZA:

NORAH O’DONNELL: There are now pictures of starving children coming out of Gaza. What about those that call that a genocide?

POPE FRANCIS: Every afternoon at 7:00 p.m. I call Gaza to the parish. There are about 600 people there. And they tell me what’s going on. It’s very hard. Very, very hard. And food goes in, but they have to fight for it. It’s very hard.

NORAH O’DONNELL: I know you call for peace. You have called for a ceasefire in many of your sermons. Can you help negotiate peace? POPE FRANCIS: I can pray. I do. I pray a lot.

NORAH O’DONNELL: During World Children’s Day, which is the end of May, the UN says over a million people will be facing famine in Gaza, many of them children. What can be done?

POPE FRANCIS: Not only Gaza. We should think about Ukraine…Those kids don’t know how to smile. I tell them something, but they forgot how to smile. And this is very hard when a child forgets to smile. That’s really very serious. Very serious.

POPE FRANCIS ON THE VATICAN’S FIRST WORLD CHILDREN’S DAY

NORAH O’DONNELL: I love that you take the kids in the Popemobile with you and bring them up to the Apostolic Palace when you say a prayer. Why do you do that?

POPE FRANCIS: Children always bear a message. They bear a message. And it is a way for us to have a younger heart.

POPE FRANCIS ON CLIMATE CHANGE:

NORAH O’DONNELL: What do you say to the deniers of climate change? POPE FRANCIS: There are people who are foolish, and foolish even if you show them research, they don’t believe it. Why, because they don’t understand the situation or because of their interest but climate change exists.

POPE FRANCIS TO THOSE WHO DO NOT SEE A PLACE FOR THEMSELVES IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH:

POPE FRANCIS:I would say that there is always a place, always. If in this parish the priest doesn’t seem welcoming, I understand, but go and look, there is always a place. Do not run away from the Church. The Church is very big. It’s more than a temple. … You shouldn’t run away from her.

An extended version of O’Donnell’s interview with Pope Francis will air on 60 MINUTES on Sunday, May 19(7:00 PM, ET/ PT). The following day on Monday, May 20, CBS will also broadcast an hour-long primetime special dedicated to the papal interview at 10:00 PM, ET on the CBS Television Network and streaming on Paramount+. Additionally, CBS News and Stations will carry O’Donnell’s interview across platforms.

The CBS EVENING NEWS airs weeknights on CBS at 6:30 PM, ET and can be streamed live on Paramount+. Follow the CBS EVENING NEWS on FacebookInstagramX and TikTok.

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