By CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE
The 84-year-old said that, in the story of the great flood in the Bible, God used his wrath to punish injustice and ‘clean up’ the world.
He then added that humanity is facing another ‘great deluge, perhaps due to a rise in temperature and the melting of glaciers.
‘[That is] what will happen now if we continue on the same path,’ he said.
Francis made the comments to Italian writer Marco Pozza, who is also chaplain of Padua prison, in a new book that is due to be published in March.
An excerpt from the book – called Of Vice and Virtues – was published by Corriere della Serra on Sunday.
In it, he also urges world leaders towards ‘prudence’, saying it is the role of governments to ‘stop and think’ before acting rashly.
Prudence, he says, goes hand-in-hand with ‘sympathy, with empathy, for situations, people, the world, [and its] problems.’
He also calls for patience in faith, saying that it is a natural part of belief for Christians to have doubts in their faith and in God.
But the truly faithful, he says, persevere in their beliefs despite their doubts and are in the end rewarded.
While discussing justice, Francis brings up the example of the biblical flood which destroyed the world except for Noah – who was deemed virtuous enough to survive.
The flood itself may have been a myth, Francis says, but it is used as an example to show how God uses wrath to punish injustice and right wrongs in the world.
‘God’s wrath is against injustice , against Satan,’ he says.
Francis warned the great flood of the Bible could repeat itself unless world leaders act to fix corruption and injustice (file image)
‘It is directed against evil, not that which derives from human weakness, but evil of Satanic inspiration: the corruption generated by Satan, behind which single men, single women, entire societies go.
‘God’s wrath is meant to bring justice, to “clean up”.’
He then issues his warning about a second ‘great flood’, adding that wrath can also be a saviour if it convinces people to change their ways.
Pozza’s book, which is based on a series of conversations he had with Pope Francis, is due to be published today.
The excerpt was published ahead of Francis’s visit to Iraq this week – the first papal visit to any country since the Covid pandemic began and the first by any pope to the Middle Eastern country.
Francis’s visit is designed to bolster Christian communities in the Middle East that were devastated under ISIS, and find themselves under attack even after the fall of its so-called caliphate.
The trip will include a meeting between Francis and Shiite Muslim leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, due to take place on Saturday.
Francis will also visit a church in Baghdad where worshippers were massacred by Islamic extremist gunmen in 2010.