Pope Francis decries racism but says 'nothing is gained by violence'

The pontiff called for national reconciliation and peace in the U.S.

Rome -- Pope Francis spoke out on Wednesday about U.S. protests in reaction to the killing of George Floyd, calling for "national reconciliation and peace" to stop "the disturbing social unrest."

Francis, addressing the English-language faithful among his weekly general audience at the Vatican, called racism a "sin" and said that "we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism."

Calling Floyd’s death "tragic," the pontiff said he was praying for "George Floyd and all those who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism" and for "the consolation of their grieving families and friends."

But he also said that the violence in the wake of many recent demonstrations is "self-destructive."

"Nothing is gained by violence, and so much is lost," he added.

The pope made his remarks from the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, which in where the weekly public audience is held because of coronavirus restrictions, rather than in St. Peter's Square.