Pope Francis: 2017 a Year of 'Lies and Injustices,' 'Backsliding and Absurd Pride'

Pope Francis celebrates Mass of the Solemnity of Mary at St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Jan. 1, 2018. (Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto/Sipa USA via AP Images)

Pope Francis called 2017 a year of “death” and “backsliding,” while calling for a new start in the new year focused on “the things that really matter.”

At Vespers in St Peter’s Basilica on Sunday afternoon, the pope noted “our thanksgiving for the year that draws to a close, recognizing that all good is God’s gift.”

“Even the year 2017, which God gave us whole and healthy, we human beings have in many ways wasted and wounded it with works of death, with lies and injustices. Wars are the flagrant sign of this backsliding and absurd pride,” he said. “But so are all the small and great offenses against life, truth, and solidarity, which cause multiple forms of human, social and environmental degradation.”

“We desire to and must assume fully, before God, our brothers and creation, our own responsibility.”

Pope Francis then focused on his “sense of warmness and gratitude for all those people who contribute every day with small but precious and concrete actions to the good of Rome: they try to do their duty as best as possible, they confront its traffic with care and prudence, they respect public places and they point out things that are wrong, they pay attention to the elderly or those in difficulty, and so on.”

The pope praised “these and a thousand other behaviors” that are “without speeches, without grandiosity, but with a type of civic education practiced in everyday life” as “they silently cooperate in the common good.”

“I also feel a great esteem for parents, teachers and all educators who, in this same manner, try to train children and young people in a civic sense and an ethic of responsibility, educating them to belong, to take care of themselves, and to take an interest in the reality that surrounds them,” he added. “These people, even if they do not make the news, are the majority of the people who live in Rome. And among them, many are in difficult economic conditions; yet they do not cry uselessly, nor do they harbor resentment and grudges, but they strive to do their part every day to improve things a little.”

“Today, in thanksgiving to God, I invite you to express also gratitude for these craftsmen of the common good, who love their city not only with words but with deeds.”

Today in his New Year’s homily, at Mass for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, Pope Francis said the season has been a reminder that “humanity is precious and sacred to the Lord” and “to serve human life is to serve God.”

“We too, as Christians on our pilgrim way, feel the need to set out anew from the center, to leave behind the burdens of the past and to start over from the things that really matter,” he said.