· Pope Francis in an interview to the founder of ‘La Repubblica’ ·
“The most serious evils currently afflicting the world are unemployment among young and the solitude in which the elderly are left. The elderly need care and companionship; the young need work and hope. However, they have neither the one nor the other, and the trouble is that they are no longer looking for them. They have been enslaved by the present. This, in my opinion, is the most urgent problem facing the Church.” Pope Francis said this to Eugenio Scalfari in an interview published Tuesday, 1 October, in the Italian daily La Repubblica and republished in L’Osservatore Romano .
The interview ranges: from saints to whom the Pope feels closest, those who have informed his religious experience (“You can’t be conscious Christians without St Paul”) to the role of mystics in the life of the Church; from memories of his election to the legacy of the Council; from the need for mutual listening to the responsibilities of Christians, who today are a minority in the world (“I think that being a minority is actually a strength. We need to be a leaven of life and of love. Our objective is not to proselytize but to listen to needs, desires, disappointments, desperations, and hopes. To be poor among the poor.”)
“I am most certainly not Francis of Assisi and I have neither his strength nor his sanctity. But I am the Bishop of Rome and the Pope of the Catholic world. I chose at the start to appoint a group of eight Cardinals to be my advisers. They are not courtiers but rather wise men with whom I share the same sentiments. This is the beginning of a Church whose organization is not just vertical but also horizontal. When Cardinal Martini spoke about this, emphasizing the role of Councils and Synods, he knew all too well how long and difficult the road would be. It must be taken with prudence, but also with firmness and tenacity.”
So-called unbridled liberalism, concluded the Pope, does nothing but “make the strong stronger, the weak weaker and the excluded more excluded. We need greater freedom, no discrimination, no demagoguery and much love. We need rules of conduct and even, if it is necessary, direct intervention by the State to correct the most intolerable inequalities.”
St. Peter’s Square
Nov. 23, 2019
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