Pope Francis repeatedly notes the importance of protecting life from conception until natural death, constantly reminding us of the great value of the elderly and grandparents. What message during these years, have you found to be most profound on these themes?
The thing that Pope Francis has impressed upon me about the whole concept of pro-life is that it must be born in our own hearts. It is not something that some law can impose upon us. It’s not something that some constitution of some country can impose upon us or not. We will be successful in building a culture of life only when we change the minds and the hearts of all people. It’s a question of the conscience of every individual who understands the sacredness of human life. That refers not only to the question of abortion, but to the question of unjust wars, of killing, of the death penalty. I mean, where are we if we think that God has created us and God has instilled in us His own image and likeness? Well, is that what we are killing? Pope Francis talks about a conversion of heart and of spirit. And until we all get that message straight, we’re not going anywhere with creating a culture of life, because you will only create a culture of life by changing one person at a time.
How would you describe the transformation in the Church brought about by Pope Francis during these ten years of pontificate?
I think Pope Francis’ greatest achievement has been to show us how to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To me, that is it. He will be remembered for that, and teaching us all that we need to go out to the peripheries. That means we have to go out of our own comfort zone and engage with people. Pope Francis is the person most looked to, to teach us how the world should live. Do we all listen to him? No. But he has opened up the arms of the Church to embrace the whole world, not just the Catholics, and not just the good Catholics who go to church. All Catholics. All people. Nobody’s excluded. And to me, that is the great thing that Pope Francis has taught us in these ten years.