A pastoral text
· The Pope to journalists after his meeting with Kirill ·
On the flight to Mexico City, the Pope spoke to journalists about his meeting with Kirill. The following is a translation of the transcript of his words in Italian.
I believe that with this Declaration you were given (the Joint Declaration with Patriarch Kirill], you have enough work for the night and for tomorrow as well! For that reason, let's not have a question and answer session. But I would like to share my feelings with you.
First of all, a feeling of welcome and readiness from President Castro. I had spoken with him the last time about this encounter and he was ready to do everything and, as we saw, he did prepare everything for this. And we need to thank him for that.
Secondly, with Patriarch Kirill. It was conversation between brothers. We discussed what concerned us both, clear points, with all frankness. I felt like I was standing before a brother, and he said the same to me. We were two bishops speaking about of the state of their Churches, in the first place; and in the second, the state of the world, about wars, wars that are now in danger of changing from a matter of “many parts” to one involving the whole. We also spoke about the state of Orthodoxy, of the up-coming pan-Orthodox Synod.... I tell you, truly, I felt an interior joy that was really from the Lord. He spoke freely and I spoke freely. You could feel the joy. The translators were good, both of them. It was a conversation of six: Patriarch Kirill, myself, Metropolitan Hilarion and Cardinal Koch, as well as two translators. But all conducted freely. The two of us spoke, and the others did too if they had any questions.
Thirdly, it has made a plan of action together possible, for unity comes on the journey. Once I said that if unity were produced in a lab, by studying theology and the like, maybe when the Lord comes, we would still be working on unity. Unity comes on the journey, walking. May the Lord, when He arrives, find us walking, at least.
Then we signed the Declaration that you have in your hands: there will be many interpretations, many. But if there are any doubts, Fr Lombardy can show you the true meaning of the matter. It is not a political or a sociological Declaration, it is a pastoral Declaration, even when it speaks about secularism and specific issues, biogenetic manipulation and all these things. It is pastoral; two bishops who came together over pastoral concerns. And it made me very happy. Now, 23 kilometres of an open popemobile lie before me...
I thank you for your work: do what you can! Thank you so much, thank you.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 28, 2020
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