Francis’ statement condemning racism came in response to an article published in the Catholic news agency, L’Osservatore Romano, in which the pope called for “a moral and spiritual rupture” with the current climate.

Francis said that “racism is a deep, rooted and fundamental problem that cannot be solved in the name of peace, harmony, justice and tolerance”.

The pontiff said that in light of the recent events in Charlottesville, the church must speak up against racism.

“No more discrimination of any kind.

We must be clear, unequivocally and unequivocally against racism, racism in all its forms, racism of any sort, against those who slander the dignity of a person because of their colour, because of the religion of a people, because they are a person of color, against the racism of the nation, against racism against women, against discrimination against migrants, against homophobia,” Francis said.

“These are all the kinds of issues that we must speak out against.

We can do this.

It’s not a question of being silent or of having to give in to a culture of indifference.”

The pontiffs statements came as he welcomed the US Congress to a special session of Congress on November 25 to debate the next steps in the US healthcare law.

“In the days ahead we must continue to stand together to defend the Affordable Care Act, to defend marriage, to protect the right to health care and to protect all people,” he said.