POPE INTERVIEW: TALKS WITH CHINA, MIGRATION, CHILE ABUSE CRISIS – POPE SAYS NO TO WOMEN PRIESTS, YES TO WOMEN IN CURIAL LEADERSHIP – POPE TALKS TO REUTERS ABOUT THE ‘DIALOGUE WITH CHINA’

The papal interview seen by Vatican News, CNA and AsiaNews:

POPE INTERVIEW: TALKS WITH CHINA, MIGRATION, CHILE ABUSE CRISIS

Pope Francis spoke about talks with China, migration policy, populism, Chile’s clerical sex abuse crisis, reform of the Roman Curia, and other issues in a wide-ranging interview with the Reuters news agency. The interviewer was Philip Pullella, head of Reuter’s Rome bureau.

by Susy Hodges (Vatican news)

In a new one-on-one interview Pope Francis has responded to a series of questions on various issues including the Holy See’s talks with China, the position of women within the Church, migration policy, populism, Chile’s clerical sex abuse crisis and reform of the Roman Curia.

Talks with China “at a good point”
Asked in the interview about relations with China, Pope Francis said he was optimistic about the outcome of normalization talks with the Chinese authorities saying they were “at a good point” but couldn’t say when they would conclude. He acknowledged that dialogue “is a risk” but said he preferred that to “the certain defeat” of not holding a dialogue with Beijing.

The Pope talked at length about immigration during the interview and was asked about the U.S. administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the U.S./Mexican border. In his reply, he said he supported recent statements issued by U.S. Catholic Bishops who called the separation of children from their parents contrary to Catholic values and immoral.

Turning to the migration situation in Europe, the Holy Father said populists were “creating a psychosis” on the issue of immigration, even as ageing societies like Europe faced “a great demographic winter” and needed more immigrants.

“I believe that you cannot reject people who arrive. You have to receive them, help them, look after them, accompany them and then see where to put them, but throughout all of Europe,” he said. He praised Italy and Greece for being “courageous and generous” by taking in these migrants.

Populism is not the solution
Pope Francis warned that populism does not resolve issues like migration problems. “What resolves things is acceptance, study, prudence,” he said. The Pope also said Europe should stop exploiting Africa and invest in ways that benefit the continent more and this could help solve the problem of migration at its roots.

When asked about women calling for more top positions in the Roman Curia, Pope Francis said he agreed there were few women in positions of responsibility there. He said he wanted to appoint more women to head Vatican departments because “women are better at resolving conflicts.” At the same time, he reiterated that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood. “(Pope) John Paul II was clear on this point and closed the door and I am not going back on that,” he said.

Chile’s clerical sex abuse crisis was another topic discussed at length during the interview. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of three bishops in Chile and said he could accept more resignations in the future.

He spoke of how he returned “a bit worried” after his pastoral visit to Chile in January this year and explained why he decided to send Archbishop Charles Scicluna to the Latin American nation to carry out further investigations into the abuse crisis.

POPE SAYS NO TO WOMEN PRIESTS, YES TO WOMEN IN CURIAL LEADERSHIP

Vatican City, Jun 20, 2018 / 03:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In an interview with Reuters, Pope Francis said more space has to be created for women to take on leading roles in the Roman Curia, but that priestly ordination is not an option.

Responding to a question about women’s ordination to the priesthood, the pope said “there is the temptation to ‘functionalize’ the reflection on women in the Church, what they should do, what they should become.”

“We cannot functionalize women,” he said, explaining that while the Church is referred to as a woman, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is out of the question “because dogmatically it doesn’t work.”

“John Paul II was clear and closed the door, and I will not go back on this. It was something serious, not something capricious,” he said, adding, “it cannot be done.”

However, Francis stressed that while the priesthood is out, women do need to be given more opportunities for leadership in the Roman Curia – a view he said has at times been met with resistance.

“I had to fight to put a woman as the vice-director of the press office,” he said, referring to his decision in 2016 to name Spanish journalist Paloma Garica Ovejero as the Vatican’s deputy spokesperson.

He said he at one point offered a woman the job of heading the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, but she turned it down because “she already had other commitments.”

Women in the Curia “are few, we need to put more,” he said, adding that it can be either a religious sister or a laywoman, “it doesn’t matter,” but there is a need to move forward with an eye for quality and competency in the job.

“I don’t have any problem naming a woman as the head of a dicastery, if the dicastery doesn’t have jurisdiction,” he said, referring to the fact that some Vatican departments have specific functions in Church governance that require a bishop to do the job. Lay men are also ineligible to oversee offices that require the jurisdictional authority of a priest or bishop.

For example, the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy has jurisdiction, so it has to be led by a bishop, but for others, such as the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, “I would not have a problem naming a competent woman,” Francis said.

Women must continue to be promoted, but without falling into “a feminist attitude,” the pope said, adding that “in the end it would be machismo with a skirt. We don’t want to fall into this.”

Pope Francis spoke during an interview with American journalist Phil Pullella of Reuters, which took place Sunday at the pope’s Vatican residence, and was published June 20.

In the interview, the pope touched on a variety of topics, including a possible deal with China on the appointment of bishops, clerical abuse and the ongoing scandal in Chile, the reform of the Roman Curia, and criticism he’s faced.

On the topic of women, Francis said that in his experience, things are usually done better when there is a mixed group working on a task, rather than just men.

“Women have an ability to understand things, it’s another vision,” he said, noting that whenever he has visited prisons run by women, they “seemed to do better,” because women know how to be “mothers” and care for inmates and their needs in a unique way.

“Women know how to manage conflicts better. In these things, women are braver,” he said, adding, “I think it would be so also in the Curia if there were more women.”

Francis noted that some have said inviting more women into the mix might mean there is more gossip, however, he said he does not believe that would be the case, “because we men are also gossipers.”

POPE TALKS TO REUTERS ABOUT THE ‘DIALOGUE WITH CHINA’

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis was interviewed by Philip Pullella of Reuters. In the tête-à-tête, the pontiff said that with respect to the dialogue with China, “We are at a good point”. In addition to diplomatic channels there are friendships and cultural exchanges. The Chinese people are “very wise” and know how to wait. By kind permission, we publish here a translation of an excerpt from the registration of the interview between the Holy Father and the journalist two days ago.

Q: How is the rapprochement with China?
R. We are at a good point, but relations with China follow three different paths. First of all, there is the official one. The Chinese delegation comes here, takes part in meetings, and then the Vatican delegation goes to China. Relations are good and we have managed to do good things. This is the official dialogue.

Then there is a second dialogue, of everyone and with everyone. “I am a cousin of the minister so and so who sent me to say that . . .”. There is always an answer. “Yes, all right, let’s go forward.” These side channels are open, let’s say, at a human level, and we do not want to burn them. We can see goodwill, both from the Holy See and the Chinese government.

The third path, which for me is the most important in the rapprochement with China, is cultural. Some priests work at Chinese universities. Then there is also culture, like the exhibit that was put on in the Vatican and in China.[1] This is the traditional path, like those of the great ones, like Matteo Ricci.

I like to think about relations with China as, multifaceted, based not only the official diplomatic one, because the other two are very enriching. I think things are going well. In your question, you mentioned two steps forward and one step backward. I think the Chinese deserve the Nobel Prize for patience, because they are good, they know how to wait, time is theirs and they have centuries of culture . . . They are a wise people, very wise. I respect China a lot.

Q: How do you respond to concerns such as those of Cardinal Zen?

A: Cardinal Zen taught theology in patriotic seminaries. I think he’s a little scared. Perhaps age might have some influence. He is a good man. He came to talk to me. I received him, but he’s a bit scared. Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer the risk to the sure defeat of not talking. With respect to time, someone mentioned Chinese time. I think it is God’s time, forward, calm.

POPE FRANCIS ON MIGRATION, AFRICA, WOMEN, CHILE, CHINA

Pope Francis is in Geneva today to mark the 70th anniversary of the WCC, the World Council of Churches. The Catholic Church is not a member of the WCC but has a partnership rather than membership relation. When Catholic Church delegates attend WCC meetings they are referred to as “delegate observers.”

Membership in the WCC is actually by national churches thus, of the 345 members, for example, there might be 35 or so Lutheran churches, 45 Anglican churches and so on. There is no national Catholic Church, rather it relates to other Christian churches in the WCC as an international Christian communion. Catholic delegates do participate in many ways and contribute to the WCC commissions.

EWTN is covering the tip with photos, articles, tweets and FB posts.

POPE FRANCIS ON MIGRATION, AFRICA, WOMEN, CHILE, CHINA

Phil Pullela of Reuters had an interview over the weekend with Pope Francis in the Santa Marta residence. Following are Reuters articles that highlight the various topics touched on. The writing and editing of the interview includes reports from other Reuters bureaus, such as Beijing.

US IMMIGRATION POLICY

Pope Francis has criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the Mexican border, saying populism is not the answer to the world’s immigration problems.
Speaking to Reuters, the Pope said he supported recent statements by U.S. Catholic bishops who called the separation of children from their parents “contrary to our Catholic values” and “immoral”.
“It’s not easy, but populism is not the solution,” Francis said on Sunday night.
In a rare, wide-ranging interview, the pope said he was optimistic about talks that may lead to a historic agreement over the appointment of bishops in China, and said he may accept more bishops’ resignations over a sexual abuse scandal in Chile.
Reflecting at his Vatican residence on his five years as pope, he defended his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church against criticism by conservatives inside and outside the Church who say his interpretation of its teachings is too liberal.
He also said he wanted to appoint more women to top positions in the Vatican administration.
One of his most pointed messages concerned President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, in which U.S. authorities plan to criminally prosecute all immigrants caught crossing the Mexican border illegally, holding adults in jail while their children are sent to government shelters.
The policy has caused an outcry in the United States and has been condemned abroad as videos emerged of youngsters held in concrete-floored enclosures and an audio of wailing children went viral.
U.S. Catholic bishops have joined other religious leaders in the United States in condemning the policy.

AFRICA

Europe should stop exploiting Africa and invest in ways that benefit the continent more, including by sharing mineral wealth more equitably, Pope Francis said.

“We must invest in Africa, but invest in an orderly way and create employment, not go there to exploit it,” he told Reuters in a wide-ranging interview, while discussing the migration of Africans to Europe.
“When a country grants independence to an African country it is from the ground up – but the subsoil is not independent. And then people (outside Africa) complain about hungry Africans coming here. There are injustices there!”
Touching on the reasons for hunger in Africa, the pope said that, “in our collective unconscious there is something inside us that says Africa must be exploited.”
His comments follow moves in some African countries to win more generous terms from international mining companies.
In Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, the government has enacted a new mining code that is designed to earn extra money for the state from copper, cobalt and gold produced there.
Mining companies say the government should reconsider the law in order to respect exemptions that were granted by its predecessor.
The pope said Europe needed to focus on education and investment in Africa if it wanted to stem the flow of migrants, which is also an increasingly divisive issue in Italy, where the new governing coalition is taking a hard line.
“And there’s a problem,” he added. “We send people back to those who have sent them here. They end up in the jails of traffickers.”
The pope then showed Reuters graphic photographs that he said showed victims of human trafficking who had been tortured and killed in an unspecified location in Africa.

CHINA

Pope Francis has voiced optimism for improved ties between the Vatican and China, rejecting criticism that the Holy See may be selling out Catholics to Beijing’s communist government.

The Vatican and China are in advanced talks to resolve a dispute over the appointment of bishops in China, one of the biggest obstacles to resuming diplomatic ties that were cut almost 70 years ago.
“We are at a good point,” the pope told Reuters in an interview at his Vatican residence.
China’s estimated 12 million Catholics are split between an underground Church that swears loyalty to the Vatican and the state-supervised Catholic Patriotic Association.
Pope Francis did not comment in the interview on the details under discussion but said dialogue was the best way forward.
“Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer risk rather than the certain defeat that comes with not holding dialogue,” he said.
“As for the timing, some people say it’s ‘Chinese time’. I say it’s God’s time. Let’s move forward serenely.”
Francis said the road to reconciliation with China was divided into three paths — the official dialogue, unofficial contacts among ordinary citizens “which we do not want to burn,” and cultural dialogue.
“I think the Chinese people merit the Nobel Prize for patience. They know how to wait. Time is theirs and they have centuries of culture …. They are a wise people, very wise. I have great respect for China,” he said.
Asked about the comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China was sincere about improving two-way ties with the Vatican, and had made “unremitting efforts”.
“We are willing to meet the Vatican side halfway, and make new progress in the process of improving relations and advancing constructive bilateral dialogue,” Geng told a regular news briefing in Beijing on Thursday, without elaborating.
The most outspoken critic of the pope’s China strategy is 86-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, a former bishop of Hong Kong, who has said the direction of negotiations suggests the Vatican is preparing to sell out the underground church.
In Hong Kong, a beachhead for Vatican loyalists in southern China, some priests say the talks could be a trap leading to greater persecution of underground believers and ultimately to tighter Communist Party control of their religion.

CHILE AND SEX ABUSE CASES

Pope Francis has said he could accept the resignations of more Chilean bishops following a sexual abuse scandal that has shattered the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church in the South American country.

The pope has already accepted the resignations of three bishops, and all Chile’s remaining bishops have offered to resign after allegations that the abuse, including of children, was covered up.

The scandal was “the work of the spirit of evil,” the pope told Reuters in an interview at his residence in the Vatican.
Asked whether he would accept more resignations, the pontiff said: “Maybe some.”
“I still have to accept the resignations of two (bishops) who have exceeded the age limit. But maybe there’s someone else whose resignation I will accept. In one case, I asked that he be given the accusations in order to give him the possibility to defend himself against the accusations and then we will see,” he said.
Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, one of nine cardinals from around the world appointed by the pope to serve as his special advisers, has been accused by abuse survivors of discrediting victims and not investigating their cases. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Asked whether Errázuriz’s position was at risk on the C-9, the pope said: “The C-9 is not an honor, it’s a job. I do not want to get into the game of cutting heads and seeking scapegoats.”
The scandal revolves around Father Fernando Karadima, who was found guilty in a Vatican investigation in 2011 of abusing boys in Santiago in the 1970s and 1980s. Now 87 and living in a nursing home in Chile, he has always denied any wrongdoing.
Four of the about 40 men trained by Karadima for the priesthood later became bishops.
One of the bishops, Juan Barros of the southern city of Osorno, became the focal point of the investigation and is one of the bishops whose resignation the pope has already accepted.
“Many people would have been happy if I had just removed Barros and done nothing else. But no!” the pope said.
Barros has denied allegations that he witnessed and covered up sexual abuse cases.
The scandal came to a head when the Argentine pontiff visited Chile in January. He has since launched a Vatican investigation.
The pope’s sexual abuse investigator, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, has produced a 2,300-page report accusing Chile’s bishops of “grave negligence” in investigating allegations that children were abused and has said evidence of sex crimes was destroyed.
Pope Francis has promised Chilean Catholics that “never again” would the Church ignore them or the cover-up of abuse in their country.
“Families brought their children to Karadima because they believed that the doctrine was sound and they did not know what was happening in there,” he said in the interview.
“The Karadima problem is a very complex problem because there was a blend of the Chilean elite with socio-political situations.”
He called Karadima “a gravely disturbed person”.
The pope said he had returned from his visit to Chile with a feeling of disquiet about the situation there. He said he had summoned all the Chilean bishops to a meeting in Rome because it was “the only thing to do.”
“In the end they said: ‘We want you to feel free, we are all handing in our resignations’,” he said, describing their offer as “a generous gesture”.
The pope said he had wondered what had happened in Chile to cause a sharp drop in support for the Church.
“It’s a difficult phenomenon to understand. Some think it has something to do with a hidden elitism there, but this is just an opinion. Certainly it is the work of the spirit of evil,” he said.