HOME, SWEET ROME! – POPE FRANCIS GIVES INTERVIEW TO LA CROIX

HOME, SWEET ROME!

I am safely and happily back in Rome, luggage and all, after a very busy and very wonderful, fulfilling book-signing visit to New York and Washington, D.C. Each of the days I was gone was filled with great joy, a lot of reminiscing and much laughter! I’ve unpacked, rested a bit and spent the afternoon looking at email and catching up on Vatican news, including the papal interview you will find below.

In coming hours and days, as I do after every trip, I will find myself thinking back to all the encounters I had in NYC and DC – the book signings, the many fabulous meals, sharing First Communions, birthdays and even a college graduation this past Sunday. I will think about all the friends I saw, the new friends I made, the joy of meeting readers of this column and fans of “Joan’s Rome”! Just terrific!

Foremost in my mind is the superlative AHN (Academy of the Holy Names) dinner in Maryland where a former French teacher – Mlle Lewis! – met with a number of her students after 50 years! Tomorrow that story and pix!

I updated yesterday’s blog, “ENCOUNTERS….” that was missing a photo of one of those encounters, a young waitress named Jazminne, and I reposted that column on FB. Here is the missing photo:

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PAPAL TWEETS:

May 16: The gift of the Holy Spirit has been bestowed in abundance so that we may live lives of genuine faith and active charity.

May 17: The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ’s followers.

POPE FRANCIS GIVES INTERVIEW TO LA CROIX

Pope Francis has given an exclusive interview to the French Catholic La Croix newspaper. In the broad-ranging conversation with journalists Guillaume Goubert and Sébastien Maillard for La Croix, Pope Francis discussed matters ranging from healthy secularism and the right way to understand and live according to the Church’s universal missionary mandate, to the idea of Europe in relation to the migration crisis and the possibility of peaceful coexistence among Muslims and Christians.

He also addressed the clergy sex abuse crisis, offering considerations about an ongoing investigation – widely covered in France – involving the Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, whose handling of the case of one pedophile priest in particular has been subject to scrutiny and criticism.

“It is true that it is not easy to judge the facts after decades, in another context,” said Pope Francis. Nevertheless, “For the Church in this area, there can be no statute of limitations: for these abuses, a priest who is called to lead people to God destroys a child. He spreads evil, resentment, pain. As Benedict XVI said, tolerance must be zero.”

Speaking to the specific case of Cardinal Barbarin, Pope Francis said, “Based on the information I have, I think that, at Lyon, Cardinal Barbarin has taken the necessary measures, he has taken things in hand.” The Holy Father went on to describe Cardinal Barbarin, saying, “He is a courageous man, a creative man, a missionary.” The Pope added, “We must now wait for the result of the process.”

Asked specifically and explicitly about whether he thinks Cardinal Barbarin ought to resign, Pope Francis answered, “No, that would be a contradiction, an imprudence. We shall see after the conclusion of the trial. But now it would be tantamount to his calling himself culpable.”

The Holy Father spoke of the challenges and opportunities facing the Church in France, which he described as, “The eldest daughter of the Church, but not the most faithful.” After a brief moment of laughter, the Holy Father added, “In the 1950s, France was called a ‘mission country’. In this sense, it is a periphery to evangelize. To be fair with France:  the Church there has a creative capacity all its own. France is also a land of great saints, great thinkers: Jean Guitton, Maurice Blondel, Emmanuel Levinas – who was not Catholic – Jacques Maritain. I also think the depth of literature.

I also like how French culture has permeated Jesuit spirituality in relation to the more ascetic Spanish current. The French current, which began with [St.] Peter Faber, while still insisting on the discernment of the mind, gives another flavor, with the great French spiritual figure, Louis Lallemant, Jean Pierre de Caussade – and with the great French Jesuit theologians, who helped the Society of Jesus so much: Henri de Lubac and Michel de Certeau. These last two I like a lot: two Jesuits who are creative. In short, this is what fascinates me with France. On the one hand, the exaggerated secularism, the legacy of the French Revolution and on the other, so many great saints.”

Asked which French saint is his favorite, Pope Francis offered, “St. Therese of Lisieux.”

His interviewers inquired after any concrete plans to visit France. “I received President François Hollande’s letter of invitation a short while ago. The Bishops’ Conference also invited me. I do not know when this trip will be, because next of year’s election in France and, in general, the Holy See’s practice is not to make such a trip in such a period. Last year, some hypotheses began to be formulated for such a trip, including a visit to Paris and its suburbs, to Lourdes, to a city where no pope visited – Marseille for example – which represents an open door to the world.”

The Holy Father also responded to a query regarding the shortage of priests. “Korea offers an historical example,” he said. “That country was evangelized by missionaries from China, from whose work the faith spread there. Then, for two centuries, Korea was evangelized by laymen. It is a land of saints and martyrs today with a strong Church. To evangelize, there need not necessarily be priests. Baptism gives strength to evangelize – and the Holy Spirit received in Baptism grows outward, to carry the Christian message with courage and patience. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of the Church, the Church’s engine. Too many Christians do not know this. In contrast, a danger to the Church is clericalism: it is a sin that takes two to commit, like the tango. The priests want to ‘clericalize’ the laity and the laity demand to be clericalized, for the sake of ease. In Buenos Aires, I knew many good priests who, seeing a capable layman, immediately exclaimed, ‘Let’s make a deacon!’ No, let him remain a layman. Clericalism is important particularly in Latin America. If popular piety there is strong, it is precisely because it is the initiative of the laity on their own, and not a clerical thing. It remains misunderstood by the clergy.”

Another major focus of the conversation was the migration crisis. Asked whether he thinks Europe really can accommodate the numbers of migrants seeking refuge within her borders, the Holy Father said, “That is a fair and responsible question because we cannot open the doors irrationally – but the basic question to ask is why there are so many migrants today.”

The Pope went on to say, “The problem started with the wars in the Middle East and Africa and with the underdevelopment of the African continent, causing hunger: if there is war, it is because there are arms manufacturers – which can be justified for defense – [but the problem is] especially [with] arms traffickers. If there is so much unemployment, it is because of the lack of investment that can provide work, such as Africa so desperately needs.

“This raises the broader issue of a global economic system fallen into an idolatry of money. Over 80% of the wealth of humanity is in the hands of about 16% of the population. A completely free market does not work. The market itself is a good thing but it takes a fulcrum, a third party, the state, to control and balance it: what we call the social market economy.

“Returning to migrants: the worst [kind of] reception is ghettoization. Migrants must rather be integrated. In Brussels, the terrorists were Belgians, the children of migrants, but they came from a ghetto. In London, the new mayor [a Muslim of Pakistani origin, Sadiq Khan] was sworn in in a cathedral and will probably be received by the Queen. This shows the importance for Europe to regain its ability to integrate. I think of Gregory the Great, who negotiated with the so-called barbarians, who are then integrated.

“This integration is even more necessary today, as Europe is experiencing a serious problem of low birth rate, due to a selfish search for well-being. A demographic vacuum develops. In France, however, thanks to family policy, this trend is mitigated.

The Pope’s interviewers then asked whether the fear of welcoming migrants is perhaps fed in part by a fear of Islam, and whether the Holy Father considers such fear justified. In answer, Pope Francis said, “I do not think there is now a fear of Islam, as such, but of Daesh [the so-called ‘Islamic State’] and its war of conquest, driven in part by Islam. The idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam, it is true. But it could be interpreted with the same idea of conquest, [found at] the end of the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus sends his disciples in all nations.

“Faced with the current Islamic terrorism, we should question the way in which too Western a model of democracy was exported to countries where there was a strong power, such as in Iraq. Or in Libya, [with its] tribal structure. We cannot move forward without considering that culture. As one Libyan said some time ago: ‘We used to have Gaddafi, now we have 50 [of him]!’

“Deep down, coexistence between Christians and Muslims is possible. I come from a country in which they live together in good familiarity. Muslims venerate the Virgin Mary and St. George. In an African country, it was reported to me that for the Jubilee of mercy, Muslims stand in long queues at the Cathedral to go through the Holy Door and pray to the Virgin Mary. In the Central African Republic, before the war, Christians and Muslims lived together and must learn to do so again today. Lebanon also shows that it is possible.”

(Click here for interview: http://www.la-croix.com/Religion/Pape/INTERVIEW-Pope-Francis-2016-05-17-1200760633)

“THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY”

“THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY”

(Vatican Radio)  “The Name of God is Mercy” is the title of a new book set to be released in 86 countries on Tuesday (12 Jan), in which Pope Francis reveals his vision of God’s mercy in a series of interviews with Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli.

Several extracts were made available by the publisher, Piemme, ahead of its official release.

The pope, like Peter, is in need of mercy

“The Pope is a man who needs the mercy of God,” the Holy Father says in the book-length interview.

“I said it sincerely to the prisoners of Palmasola, in Bolivia, to those men and women who welcomed me so warmly. I reminded them that even Saint Peter and Saint Paul had been prisoners. I have a special relationship with people in prisons, deprived of their freedom. I have always been very attached to them, precisely because of my awareness of being a sinner.”

“Every time I go through the gates into a prison to celebrate Mass or for a visit, I always think: why them and not me? I should be here. I deserve to be here. Their fall could have been mine. I do not feel superior to the people who stand before me. And so I repeat and pray: why him and not me? It might seem shocking, but I derive consolation from Peter: he betrayed Jesus, and even so he was chosen.”

Pope John Paul I: ‘engraved in dust’

The Holy Father also remembers being touched by the writings of his predecessor Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani. “There is the homily when Albino Luciani said he had been chosen because the Lord preferred that certain things not be engraved in bronze or marble but in the dust, so that if the writing had remained, it would have been clear that the merit was all and only God’s. He, the bishop and future Pope John Paul I, called himself ‘dust’.”

“I have to say that when I speak of this, I always think of what Peter told Jesus on the Sunday of his resurrection, when he met him on his own, a meeting hinted at in the Gospel of Luke. What might Peter have said to the Messiah upon his resurrection from the tomb? Might he have said that he felt like a sinner? He must have thought of his betrayal, of what had happened a few days earlier when he pretended three times not to recognise Jesus in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. He must have thought of his bitter and public tears.”

“If Peter did all of that, if the gospels describe his sin and denials to us, and if despite all this Jesus said [to him], ‘tend my sheep’ (John 21), I don’t think we should be surprised if his successors describe themselves as sinners. It is nothing new.”

Miserando atque eligendo

Telling the story of his episcopal motto, Pope Francis returns to an experience of God’s mercy, which took place in his teenage years.

“I don’t have any particular memories of mercy as a young child. But I do as a young man. I think of Father Carlos Duarte Ibarra, the confessor I met in my parish church on September 21, 1953, the day the Church celebrated Saint Matthew, the apostle and evangelist. I was seventeen years old. On confessing myself to him, I felt welcomed by the mercy of God.”

“Ibarra was originally from Corrientes but was in Buenos Aires to receive treatment for leukaemia. He died the following year. I still remember how when I got home, after his funeral and burial, I felt as though I had been abandoned. And I cried a lot that night, really a lot, and hid in my room.”

“Why? Because I had lost a person who helped me feel the mercy of God, that miserando atque eligendo, an expression I didn’t know at the time but I eventually would choose as my episcopal motto. I learned about it later, in the homilies of the English monk, the Venerable Bede [672-735]. When describing the calling of Matthew, he writes: “Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an apostle saying to him, ‘follow me’.”

“This is the translation commonly given for the words of Saint Bede [originally written in Latin]. I like to translate “miserando” with another gerund that doesn’t exist: misericordando or mercying. So, “mercying him and choosing him” describes the vision of Jesus who gives the gift of mercy and chooses, and takes with him.”

Church condemns sin, shows mercy to sinner

“The Church condemns sin because it has to relay the truth: ‘this is a sin’. But at the same time, it embraces the sinner who recognises himself as such, it welcomes him, it speaks to him of the infinite mercy of God. Jesus forgave even those who crucified and scorned him.”

“To follow the way of the Lord, the Church is called on to dispense its mercy over all those who recognise themselves as sinners, who assume responsibility for the evil they have committed, and who feel in need of forgiveness. The Church does not exist to condemn people, but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God’s mercy.”

“I often say that in order for this to happen, it is necessary to go out: to go out from the churches and the parishes, to go outside and look for people where they live, where they suffer, and where they hope. I like to use the image of a field hospital to describe this “Church that goes forth”. It exists where there is combat. It is not a solid structure with all the equipment where people go to receive treatment for both small and large infirmities. It is a mobile structure that offers first aid and immediate care, so that its soldiers do not die.”

“It is a place for urgent care, not a place to see a specialist. I hope that the Jubilee [The Holy Year of Mercy] will serve to reveal the Church’s deeply maternal and merciful side, a Church that goes forth toward those who are “wounded,” who are in need of an attentive ear, understanding, forgiveness, and love.”

Mercy yes, corruption no

Pope Francis goes on to point out the difference between sin and corruption, saying the corrupt man lacks the humility to recognise his sins.

“Corruption is the sin which, rather than being recognised as such and rendering us humble, is elevated to a system; it becomes a mental habit, a way of living. We no longer feel the need for forgiveness and mercy, but we justify ourselves and our behaviours.”

“Jesus says to his disciples: even if your brother offends you seven times a day, and seven times a day he returns to you to ask for forgiveness, forgive him. The repentant sinner, who sins again and again because of his weakness, will find forgiveness if he acknowledges his need for mercy. The corrupt man is the one who sins but does not repent, who sins and pretends to be Christian, and it is this double life that is scandalous.”

“The corrupt man does not know humility, he does not consider himself in need of help, he leads a double life. We must not accept the state of corruption as if it were just another sin. Even though corruption is often identified with sin, in fact they are two distinct realities, albeit interconnected.”

“Sin, especially if repeated, can lead to corruption, not quantitatively — in the sense that a certain number of sins makes a person corrupt — but rather qualitatively: habits are formed that limit one’s capacity for love and create a false sense of self-sufficiency.”

“The corrupt man tires of asking for forgiveness and ends up believing that he doesn’t need to ask for it any more. We don’t become corrupt people overnight. It is a long, slippery slope that cannot be identified simply as a series of sins. One may be a great sinner and never fall into corruption if hearts feel their own weakness. That small opening allows the strength of God to enter.”

“When a sinner recognises himself as such, he admits in some way that what he was attached to, or clings to, is false. The corrupt man hides what he considers his true treasure, but which really makes him a slave and masks his vice with good manners, always managing to keep up appearances.”

 

MAY THE JUBILEE OF MERCY PRODUCE A “REVOLUTION OF TENDERNESS” – OPENING OF HOLY DOOR TO BE BROADCAST IN “TOTAL IMMERSION” ULTRA HD

MAY THE JUBILEE OF MERCY PRODUCE A “REVOLUTION OF TENDERNESS”

(VIS) – The Italian magazine “Credere” today published an interview with Pope Francis ahead of the imminent opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, in which the Holy Father explains the motives and expectations of this convocation. “Credere” – Believing – is a popular magazine in Italy about faith and the official magazine of the Jubilee of Mercy.

CREDERE

Following are extensive extracts from the interview:

“The theme of mercy has been strongly accentuated in the life of the Church, starting with Pope Paul VI. John Paul II underlined it firmly with Dives in Misericordia, the canonization of St. Faustina and the institution of the feast of Divine Mercy on the Octave of Easter. In line with this, I felt that it was as if it was the Lord’s wish to show His mercy to humanity. It was not something that came to my mind, but rather the relatively recent renewal of a tradition that has however always existed. … It is obvious that today’s world is in need of mercy and compassion, or rather of the capacity for empathy. We are accustomed to bad news, cruel news and the worst atrocities that offend the name and the life of God. The world needs to discover that God is the Father, that there is mercy, that cruelty is not the way, that condemnation is not the way, because it is the Church herself who at times takes a hard line, and falls into the temptation to follow a hard line and to underline moral rules only; many people are excluded. The image of the Church as a field hospital after a battle comes to mind here: it is the truth, so many people are injured and destroyed! … I believe that this is the time for mercy. We are all sinners, all of us carry inner burdens. I felt that Jesus wanted to open the door to His heart, that the Father wants to show us His innate mercy, and for this reason He sends us the Spirit. … It is the year of reconciliation. On the one hand we see the weapons trade … the murder of innocent people in the cruellest ways possible, the exploitation of people, of children. There is currently a form of sacrilege against humanity, because man is sacred, he is the image of the living God. And the Father says, ‘stop and come to me’”.

In response to the second question on the importance of divine mercy in his life, Pope Francis, who has repeatedly affirmed his awareness of being a sinner, says:

“I am a sinner … I am sure of this. I am a sinner whom the Lord looked upon with mercy. I am, as I said to detainees in Bolivia, a forgiven man. … I still make mistakes and commit sins, and I confess every fifteen or twenty days. And if I confess it is because I need to feel that God’s mercy is still upon me.” Francis recalled that he felt this sensation in a particular way on 21 September 1953, when he felt the need to enter a church and confess to a priest he did not know, and from then his life was changed; he decided to become a priest and his confessor, who was suffering from leukaemia, accompanied him for a year. “He died the following year,” said the Pope. “After the funeral I cried bitterly, I felt totally lost, as if with the fear that God had abandoned me. This was the moment in which I came across God’s mercy, and it is closely linked to my episcopal motto: 21 September is the feast day of St. Matthew, and the Venerable Bede, when speaking of the conversion of St. Matthew, says that Jesus looked at him ‘miserando atque eligendo’. … The literal translation would be ‘pitying and choosing’”.

The third question: “Can the Jubilee of Mercy be an opportunity to rediscover God’s ‘maternity’? Is there an almost ‘feminine’ aspect of the Church that must be valued?”

“Yes”, the Holy Father replies. “God Himself affirms this when He says in the Book of Isaiah that a mother could perhaps forget her child, even a mother can forget, but ‘I will never forsake you’. Here we see the maternal dimension of God. Not everyone understands when we speak about God’s maternity, it is not part of ‘popular’ language – in the good sense of the word – and may seem rather elitist; for this reason I prefer to speak about the tenderness, typical of a mother, God’s tenderness that comes from his innate paternity. God is both father and mother”.

In response to a question on whether the discovery of a more merciful and emotional God, Who is moved to tenderness for mankind, should lead to a change of attitude towards others, Francis says: “Discovering this leads us to have a more tolerant, more patient, more tender attitude. In 1994 during the Synod, in a group meeting, I said that it was necessary to begin a revolution of tenderness … and I continue to say that today the revolution is that of tenderness, because justice derives from this. … The revolution of tenderness is what we must cultivate today as the fruit of this year of mercy: God’s tenderness towards each one of us. Each one of us must say, ‘I am a wretch, but God loves me as I am; so, I must love others in the same way’”.

The writer recalls St. John XXIII’s famous “Sermon to the moon”, in which greeting the faithful one night, he told them to give a caress to their children. “This image became an image of the Church’s tenderness. In what way does the theme of mercy help our Christian communities to convert and renew themselves?”

“When I see the sick, the elderly, a caress comes to me spontaneously. … A caress is a gesture that can be interpreted ambiguously, but it is the first gesture that a mother and father offer a newborn child, this gesture that says ‘I love you, I wish well to you’”.

Finally: “Is there a gesture you intend to make during the Jubilee to show God’s mercy?”

“There will be many gestures, but one Friday each month I will make a different gesture”, the Holy Father concludes.

OPENING OF HOLY DOOR TO BE BROADCAST IN “TOTAL IMMERSION” ULTRA HD

(Vatican Radio) The opening Mass for the Jubilee of Mercy and the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica on December 8 will be seen around the world in greater clarity than any other papal event in history. The Centro Televisivo Vaticano (CTV) just announced a major overhaul of the equipment used for its live footage capture, and the opening event of the Jubilee will be broadcast for the first time in ULTRA HD and 4K.

CTV’s OB-8 OB truck has been fully equipped with 4K technology and will feature eight Sony HDC-4300 cameras, a 4K PWS-4400 server and a 4K MVS-7000X switcher.

This will create an “immersion experience” that attempts to capture, deliver and display images in a way that is as close to the performance of the human eye as possible.

The technology was explained at a press conference Tuesday presided over by Msgr. Dario Viganò, prefect of the Secretariat for Communications and long-time head of CTV.

“CTV’s mission is to document all of the activities of the Pope and the Holy See and then offer a service that draws television broadcasters from all over the world,” Msgr. Viganò said.

“This requires the highest attention to quality and the need to keep up to date with the latest and most advanced technologies. HDR’s ability to capture reality just as our eyes see it has certainly provided followers and viewers from around the world with a great opportunity to be part of the events of the Holy Father in an even more immersive and engaging way.”

 

VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO IRAQI CHALDEAN BISHOP WARDA – KEEP DEFENDING LIFE AT ALL ITS STAGES, FRANCIS TELLS PRO-LIFE GROUP – POPE FRANCIS: “I WOULD LIKE A WORLD WITHOUT THE POOR” – ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, A RESTORED TREVI FOUNTAIN

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VATICAN INSIDER TALKS TO IRAQI CHALDEAN BISHOP WARDA

My special guest this week on “Vatican Insider” is Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Kurdistan, northern Iraq. We spoke in Rome during the synod of Chaldean bishops. We have known each other for a number of years, starting with my first visit to Iraq when I spent 8 days in Erbil and was a guest at the Chaldean seminary whose construction in Erbil was overseen by then Fr. Warda.  In fact, he had been a professor at the Chaldean seminary in Baghdad where the terrorism situation had become so dangerous that staff and seminarians were not even going to the seminary. Fr. Warda knew that the Chaldean Church had vocations so he said, “we can’t close the seminary – we have to build one elsewhere.”  And the rest is history.

This week, Abp. Warda talks about the dramatic refugee situation in Erbil and the plight of Christians in Iraq.

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As you know, in the United States, you can listen to Vatican Insider on a Catholic radio station near you (there is a list of U.S. stations at www.ewtn.com) or on Sirius-XM satellite radio. If you live outside the U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” Vatican Insider airs Saturday mornings at 9:30 am (Eastern time) and re-airs Sundays at 4:30 pm (ET). Check for your time zone. Past shows are found in Vatican Insider archives: ttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/file_index.asp?SeriesId=7096&pgnu=

KEEP DEFENDING LIFE AT ALL ITS STAGES, FRANCIS TELLS PRO-LIFE GROUP

Pope Francis Friday welcomed over 500 participants in the congress of the Movement for Life currently underway in Sacrofano, Italy, and encouraged them to “continue your important work in favor of life from conception to its natural end, also taking into account the conditions of suffering that many brothers and sisters have to face and at times endure.”

“We need to nurture,” he strssed, “a personal and social sensitivity towards both the welcoming of a new life and also those situations of poverty and exploitation that affect the weakest and most disadvantaged. On the one hand,” he asked, “’how can we genuinely teach the importance of concern for other vulnerable beings, however troublesome or inconvenient they may be, if we fail to protect a human embryo? On the other hand, ‘human life itself is a gift which must be defended from various forms of debasement,” he said, quoting his encyclical Laudato si‘.

“For Christ’s disciples,” explained the Holy Father, “helping wounded human life meant going towards people in need, putting themselves by their sides, and taking on board their frailty and suffering so as to relieve them. How many families are vulnerable due to poverty, illness, unemployment and homelessness? How many elderly people suffer the burden of suffering and loneliness? How many young people are lost, threatened by addiction and other forms of slavery, waiting to rediscover trust in life? These people, wounded in body and spirit, are icons of that man of the Gospel who, travelling the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, ran into some brigands who robbed and beat him. He experienced first the indifference of some, and then the closeness of the good Samaritan.”

In our times, said Francis, “there are still many wounded people, caused by today’s brigands, who despoil them not only of their belongings but also of their dignity. Faced with the suffering and need of our defenseless brothers, some turn away or move on, whereas others stop and respond with generous dedication to their cry for help. You, members of the Movement for Life, have sought to imitate the good Samaritan during the forty years of your activity.”

The Pope urged the members to continue “to protect the most vulnerable people, who have the right to be born into life, as well as those who ask for a healthier and more dignified existence.”

POPE FRANCIS: “I WOULD LIKE A WORLD WITHOUT THE POOR”

The Dutch newspaper “Straatnieuws” (Streetnews) today published an interview granted by Pope Francis to one of their own on October 27. Straatnieuws is published by the homeless of the city of Utrecht and is sold directly by them, thus providing them with some small income. The article also appeared in the 112 other daily papers associated with the International Network of Street Papers (INSP).

The Pope is questioned on many topics, both personal and Church-related. He is asked about his childhood (turns out he actually wanted to be a butcher when he grew up – or so he told his mother and grandmother at age 4!), his life as Pope, his great concern for the poor (“I would like a world without the poor”) and the wealth of the Church.

The interview began with the Pope’s memories of his childhood home in Buenos Aires, “the street in which he grew up.” He recalled playing soccer as a child, and spoke about how everything in his neighbourhood was within walking distance. He said it was his memories of neighbours in Buenos Aires that were the source of his personal commitment to the poor.

The Vatican Information Service has provided extensive translated extracts from the interview, especially on the theme of poverty.

Interviewer: What is the Church’s message for the homeless? What does Christian solidarity mean for them in practice?

Pope Francis: “Two things come to mind. Jesus came to the world homeless, and made Himself poor. Then, the Church wishes to embrace all and to say that it is a right to have a roof over your head. In popular movements they work according to the three Spanish ‘t’s: trabajo (work), techo (casa) and tierra (earth). The Church teaches that every person has a right to all three”.

Interviewer: You often ask for attention to the poor and refugees. Do you not fear that in this way a sort of weariness in relation to this theme may be generated in the mass media or in society in general?

Pope Francis: “When we return to a theme that is not pleasant, because it is disagreeable to talk about it, we are all tempted to say. ‘That’s enough, I am tired of this’. I feel that this weariness exists, but I am not afraid of it. I must continue to speak the truth and say how these things are”.

Interviewer: Are you not afraid that your defence of solidarity and assistance for the homeless and other poor people may be exploited politically? How should the Church speak in order to be influential and at the same time remain external to political affiliations?

Pope Francis: “There are roads that lead to errors in this regard. I would like to underline two temptations. The Church must speak truthfully and also by her witness: the witness of poverty. If a believer speaks about poverty or the homeless and lives like a pharaoh, this is not good. This is the first temptation.

“The second temptation is to make agreements with governments. Agreements can be made but they must be clear and transparent. For example, we manage this building, but the accounts are all audited, in order to avoid corruption, as there is always the temptation to corruption in public life, both political and religious. … Once I asked a question to a minister in Argentina, an honest man – one who left his post because he could not reconcile himself with various obscure aspects. I asked him: when you give assistance in the form of meals, clothing or money to the poor and needy, what percentage of what you send arrives? And he answered, 35 per cent. That means that 65 per cent is lost. It is corruption: a cut for me, another cut for you”.

Interviewer: Your namesake St. Francis chose radical poverty and even sold his evangeliarium. As the Pope, and bishop of Rome, do you ever feel under pressure to sell the Church’s treasures?

Pope Francis: “This is an easy question. They are not the treasures of the Church, they are treasures of humanity. For example, if tomorrow I decide to put Michelangelo’s Pieta up for auction, I cannot do this, since it is not the property of the Church. It is kept in a church but it belongs to humanity. This is true of all the treasures of the Church. But we have started to sell gifts and other things that are given to me, and the proceeds from sales go to Msgr. (Konrad) Krajewski, who is my almoner. Then there is the lottery. There were cars that have all been sold or given away with a lottery and the proceeds are used for the poor. There are things that can be sold, and we sell these”.

Interviewer: Are you aware that the wealth of the Church can give rise to this type of expectation?

Pope Francis: “Yes, if we make a catalogue of the assets of the Church, it seems that the Church is very rich. But when the Concordat was made with Italy in 1929 on the Roman Question, the Italian government at the time offered to the Church a large park in Rome. And the then Pope Pius XI said no, I would like just half a square kilometre to guarantee the Church’s independence. This principle still stands.

“Yes, the real estate of the Church is considerable, but we use it to maintain the structures of the Church and to maintain many works that are carried out in countries in need: hospitals and schools. Yesterday, for example, I asked for 50,000 euros to be sent to Congo to build three schools in poor villages, as education is important for children. They went to the competent administration, I made the request, and the money was sent”.

Interviewer: Holy Father, is it possible to imagine a world without the poor?

Pope Francis: “I would like a world without the poor. We must fight for this. But I am a believer and I know that sin is always within us. And there is always human greed, the lack of solidarity, the selfishness that creates poverty. Therefore, it would seem difficult to me to imagine a world without the poor. If you think about children exploited for slave labour, or sexually abused children. And another form of exploitation: children killed for the trafficking of organs. Killing children to remove their organs is greed. Therefore, I do not know if we will be able to make a world without poverty, because sin is always there and leads to selfishness. But we must always fight, always …”.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, A RESTORED TREVI FOUNTAIN

Following 17 months of work the newly unveiled Trevi Fountain is, according to all who attended the unveiling, “a sight to behold,” “beyond description in its brilliance and beauty.” The scaffolding is down, the workers are gone and Trevi Fountain once again belongs to Romans and visitors, to the world. (photo from Buzz in Rome online)

TREVI FOUNTAIN

Italian Fashion icon Fendi footed the $2.5 million bill for the celebrated fountain. Legend says that when you throw a coin in Trevi Fountain – with your back to the fountain and right hand throws the coin over your left shoulder – this guarantees your return to the Eternal City. A second legend from the movie, “Three Coins in a Fountain” says the first coin guarantees your return to Rome, the second will bring new romance, and the third will lead to marriage. (photo from Buzz in Rome online)

Another Rome monument – the most famous of all, the Colosseum – is being renovated and Diego della Valle of Tod’s shoes and luxury bags is footing the entire bill – the colossal amount of €25 million. Renovation is expected to last three years.

 

(Re: tossing a coin in the fountain. Years ago, just before leaving Rome after a vacation, I went to throw my coin in the fountain and, for some strange reason, the only coin I had was an America nickel. I threw it in and, believe it or not, a good Italian friend came to the U.S. for a visit. Reverse procedure!)

POPE TO MEDIA ON PLANE: “I AM NOT A STAR BUT THE SERVANT OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD” – THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

POPE FRANCIS TWEETED ON MONDAY: With my heartfelt thanks. May the love of Christ always guide the American people! #GodBlessAmerica

You know, of course, that the Holy Father is back in Rome, having arrived yesterday morning in the Eternal City and going, as is his wont, to St. Mary Major Basilica to thank Our Lady, in the image of Salus Populi Romani, for a successful trip.

POPE-ST MARY MAJOR

By the way, here is one of my favorite stories from the Pope’s time in the U.S., and I’m guessing you may have read it somewhere as it went viral:

Before returning to Rome, Pope Francis on Sunday met with an Argentinian family who, in a Vokswagen bus, traveled for 200 days through 13 countries in the Americas to be in Philadelphia for the papal visit to the World Meeting of Families. The Walker family – Mom, Dad and four children aged 3 to 12 – met Francis on his last morning in the U.S. at the St. Charles Borromeo seminary which had been his home in Philadelphia. (photo Ap – news.va)

POPE-ARgentinian FAMILY

Catire Walker told journalists Pope Francis greeted them by saying “Are you the family who traveled from Buenos Aires? You’re crazy!” He said the meeting was “casual,” and he told the Pope thousands of families were praying for him.

Papal spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said, “The Pope told me explicitly to say [that he had met with the family] because for him it was a very interesting moment, and the experience of this family has touched him very much.” The family said the meeting was the “best gift of all” after their long journey.

POPE TO MEDIA ON PLANE: “I AM NOT A STAR BUT THE SERVANT OF THE SERVANTS OF GOD”

I did post several blogs on Sunday with updates on the papal trip but did not, for many reasons beyond my control, get this piece of news out about the papal press conference on the plane returing to Rome. I was able, however, to post it on Facebook as soon as the full translation of the papal press conference became available.

This is truly worth reading – every word. In addition, it will probably answer a few questions you may have had – the same as some asked by the journalists.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is back in the Vatican after his 10th apostolic journey abroad which took him to Cuba, to the United States and to the United Nations in New York.

During the flight that brought him back to Rome he spoke to journalists aboard the Papal plane, touching on many issues including his just concluded visit, the sex abuse scandal in the Church, the right to be a conscientious objector, a peace accord in Colombia, migration and the upcoming Synod on the Family. Following is the Vatican Radio report: (photo: news.va)

POPE PRESS CONFERENCE

To the questions put to him by 11 journalists in different languages, Pope Francis’ answers ranged from the political to the personal. Describing his welcome to the United States as warm, exuberant and expressive, in one word: wonderful, Pope Francis said the greatest challenge for the US Church is to stay close to the people and accompany them in good and bad times.

Going on to repeat his condemnation of priests who sexually abused children, he point out that sexual abuse is not confined to the Church but that it is worse when committed by men of religion who betray their vocation.

He elaborated on questions regarding the upcoming Synod on the Family pointing out that there is no such thing as a “Catholic divorce” and that the Church has the responsibility of preparing couples much better for their life-long commitment to marriage.  He talked of “conscientious objection” which, he said, “must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right.”

And asked about barriers being but up in Europe to stop the influx of migrants, the Pope  said: “All walls collapse sooner or later”. The solution, he said, must be found through dialogue. With barriers – he continued – the problem remains – and with it, more hatred.

Finally, noting that he has become a “star” in the United States a reporter asked Pope Francis whether this was good for the Church.

“The media uses this term – he answered –  but a Pope is the servant of the servants of God. “How many stars have we seen that go out and fall?” he remarked, “On the other hand, being servant of the servants of God is something that doesn’t pass.

Here is Vatican Radio’s transcript of the entire press conference:

Pope Francis:  Good evening to all and thank you for the work because you went about from one place to the other and I was in a car but you… thank you very much.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine: Thank you so much Holy Father Elizabeth Dias from TIME magazine. We are all so curious…this was your first visit to the US. What surprised you about the US and what was different to what you might have expected?

Pope Francis:  It was my first visit. I’d never been here before. What surprised me was the warmth, the warmth of the people, so lovable. It was a beautiful thing and also different: in Washington the welcome was warm but more formal; New York was a bit exuberant. Philadelphia very expressive. Three different kinds of welcome. I was very struck by this kindness and welcome but also by the religious ceremonies and also by the piety, the religiosity of the people… you could see the people pray and this struck me a lot. Beautiful.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine: Was there some sort of challenge that you didn’t expect in the United States?

Pope Francis:  No, thank God no…everything was good. No challenge. No provocation. Everyone was polite. No insults and nothing bad.

Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine: Well, what is the challenge?

Pope Francis:  We must continue to work with the faithful like we have always done, until now. Accompanying people in their growth – through the good times but also through the difficult ones – accompanying people in their joy and in their bad moments, in their difficulties when there is no work, ill health. The challenge of the Church… now I understand: the Church’s challenge is staying close to the people. Close to the United States… not being a Church which is detached from the people but close to them, close, close and this is something that the Church in America has understood, and understood well.

David O’Reilly, Philadelphia Inquirer:  Holy Father: Philadelphia, as you know, has had a very difficult time with sex abuse. It’s still an open wound in Philadelphia. So I know many people in Philadelphia were surprised that you offered bishops comfort and consolation and I think many in Philadelphia would ask you why did you feel the need to offer compassion to the bishops?

Pope Francis:  In Washington I spoke to all the US bishops… they were all there no? I felt the need to express compassion because something really terrible happened. And many of them suffered who did not know of this. I used words from the bible from Apocalypse: You are coming from a large tribulation. What happened was a great tribulation. But also the suffering (emotional). What I said today to the victims of abuse. I wouldn’t say an apotheosis but almost a sacrilege. We know abuses are everywhere: in families, in neighborhoods, in schools, in gyms. But when a priest abuses it is very serious because the vocation of the priest is to make that boy, that girl, grow towards the love of God, toward maturity, and towards good. Instead this is squashed and this is nearly a sacrilege and he betrayed his vocation, the calling of the Lord. For this reason the Church is strong on this and one must not cover these things up. Those who covered this up are guilty. Even some bishops who covered this up, It is a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say: ”Don’t worry that was nothing… no, no, no even some bishops who covered this up, It’s a terrible thing and the words of comfort were not to say “don’t worry that was nothing…no, no , no, but it was so bad that I imagine that you cried hard”… that was the sense of what I meant and today I spoke strongly.

Maria Antonieta Collins, Univision: You have spoken a lot about forgiveness, that God forgives us and that we often ask for forgiveness. I would like to ask you, after you were at the seminary today. There are many priests that have committed sexual abuses to minors and have not asked for forgiveness for their victims. Do you forgive them? And on the other hand, do you understand the victims or their relatives who can’t or don’t want to forgive?

Pope Francis:  If a person has done wrong, is conscious of what he has done and does not say sorry, I ask God to take him into account. I forgive him, but he does not receive that forgiveness, he is closed to forgiveness. We must forgive, because we were all forgiven. It is another thing to receive that forgiveness. If that priest is closed to forgiveness, he won’t receive it, because he locked the door from the inside. And what remains is to pray for the Lord to open that door. To forgive you must be willing. But not everyone can receive or know how to receive it, or are just not willing to receive it. What I’m saying is hard. And that is how you explain how there are people who finish their life hardened, badly, without receiving the tenderness of God.

Maria Antonieta Collins, Univision: Regarding victims or relatives who don’t forgive  – do you understand them?

Pope Francis:  Yes, I do. I pray for them. And I don’t judge them. Once, in one of these meetings, I met several people and I met a woman who told me “When my mother found out that I had been abused, she became blasphemous, she lost her faith and she died an atheist.” I understand that woman. I understand here. And God who is even better than me, understands her. And I’m sure that that woman has been received by God. Because what was abused,  destroyed, was her own flesh, the flesh of her daughter. I understand her. I don’t judge someone who can’t forgive. I pray and I ask God… God is a champion in finding paths of solutions. I ask him to fix it.

Andres Beltramo, Notimex: Thanks, first of all for this moment. We’ve all heard you speak so much about the peace process in Colombia between the FARC and the government. Now, there’s an historic agreement. Do you feel involved in this agreement and you’ve said that you wished to go to Colombia when this agreement was made, right? Now there are a lot of Colombians awaiting you.

Pope Francis:  When I heard the news that in March the accord will be signed I said to the Lord, ‘Lord, help us reach March.’  The willingness is there on both sides. It is there, even in the small group, everyone is in agreement. We have to reach March, for the definitive accord, which is the point of international justice. I was very happy and I felt like I was a a part of it because I’ve always wanted this. I spoke to president Santos twice about this problem. Not only myself, but also the Holy See. The Holy See was always willing to help and do what it could.      Thomas Jansen, CIC: Holy Father, I wanted to ask something about the migrant crisis in Europe. Many countries are building new barriers out of barbed wire. What do you think of this development?

Pope Francis: You used a word, crisis. It’s become a state of crisis after a long process. For years, this process has exploded because wars for which those people leave and flee are wars waged for years. Hunger. It’s hunger for years. When I think of Africa… this is a bit simplistic. But I see it as an example. It comes to me to think about Africa, “the exploited continent.” They went to pick up the slaves there, then its great resources. It’s the exploited continent. And, now the wars, tribal or not. But they have economic interests behind them. And, I think that instead of exploiting a continent or a nation, make investments there instead so the people are able to work and this crisis would have been avoided. It’s true, as I said at Congress, it’s a refugee crisis not seen since World War II. It’s the biggest. You asked me about barriers. You know what happens to all walls. All of them. All walls fall. Today, tomorrow or in 100 years, they will fall. It’s not a solution. The Wall isn’t a solution. In this moment, Europe is in difficulty, it’s true. We have to be intelligent. We must find solutions. We must encourage dialogue between different nations, to find them. Walls are never solutions. But bridges are, always, always. I don’t know. What I think is that walls can last a little time or a long time. The problem remains but it also remains with more hatred. That’s what I think.

Jean Marie Guenois, Le Figaro: Holy Father, you obviously cannot anticipate the debate of the synod fathers, we know that well. But we want to know just before the Synod, in your heart as a pastor, if you really want a solution for the divorced and remarried. We want to also know if your ‘motu proprio’ on the speeding-up of annulments has closed this debate. Finally, how do you respond to those who fear that with this reform, there is a de-facto creation of a so-called ‘Catholic divorce.’ Thank you.

Pope Francis:  I’ll start with the last one. In the reform of the procedure and the way, I closed the door to the administrative path, which was the path through which divorce could have entered. You could say that those who think this is ‘Catholic divorce’ are wrong because this last document has closed the door to divorce by which it could have entered. It would have been easier with the administrative path. There will always be the judicial path. Continuing with the third (question): the document…. I don’t remember the third but you correct me.

Jean Marie Guenois, Le Figaro: The question was on the notion of Catholic divorce, if the motu proprio has closed the debate before the synod on this theme?

Pope Francis: This was called for by the majority of the Synod fathers in the synod last year: streamline the process because there are cases that last 10-15 years, no? There’s one sentence, then another sentence, and after there’s an appeal, there’s the appeal then another appeal. It never ends.  The double sentence, when it was valid that there was an appeal, was introduced by Papa Lambertini, Benedict XIV, because in central Europe, I won’t say which country, there were some abuses, and to stop it he introduced this but it’s not something essential to the process. The procedure changes, jurisprudence changes, it gets better. At that time it was urgent to do this, then Pius X wanted to streamline and made some changes but he didn’t have the time or the possibility to do it. The Synod fathers asked for it, the speeding up of the annulment processes. And I stop there. This document, this ‘motu proprio’ facilitates the processes and the timing, but it is not divorce because marriage is indissoluble when it is a sacrament. And this the Church cannot change. It’s doctrine. It’s an indissoluble sacrament. The legal trial is to prove that what seemed to be a sacrament wasn’t a sacrament, for lack of freedom for example, or for lack of maturity, or for mental illness. There are so many reasons that bring about (an annulment), after a study, an investigation. That there was no sacrament. For example, that the person wasn’t free.  Another example: now it’s not so common but in some sectors of common society at least in Buenos Aires, there were weddings when the woman got pregnant: ‘you have to get married.’ In Buenos Aires, I counselled my priests, strongly, I almost prohibited them to celebrate weddings in these conditions. We called them “speedy weddings”, eh? (They were) to cover up appearances. And the babies are born, and some work out but there’s no freedom and then things go wrong little by little they separate (and say) ‘I was forced to get married because we had to cover up this situation” and this is a reason for nullity. So many of them.  Cases of nullity, you have, you can find them (the reasons) on the internet there all there are many, eh? Then, the issue of the second weddings, the divorcees, who make a new union. You read what, you have the “instrumentum laboris.” what is put in discussion seems a bit simplistic to me to say that the Synod is the solution for these people and that they can have communion. That’s not the only solution. No, what the “Instrumentum laboris” proposes is a lot more, and also the problem of the new unions of divorcees isn’t the only problem. In the “Instrumentum laboris” there are many. For example, young people don’t get married. They don’t want to get married. It’s a pastoral problem for the Church. Another problem: the affective maturity for a marriage. Another problem: faith. ‘Do I believe that this is for ever? Yes, yes, yes, I believe.’ ‘But do you believe it?’ the preparation for a wedding: I think so often that to become a priest there’s a preparation for 8 years, and then, its not definite, the Church can take the clerical state away from you. But, for something lifelong, they do four courses! 4 times… Something isn’t right. It’s something the Synod has to deal with: how to do preparation for marriage. It’s one of the most difficult things. There are many problems, they’re all are listed in the “Instrumentum laboris.” But, I like that you asked the question about ‘Catholic divorce.’ That doesn’t exist. Either it wasn’t a marriage, and this is nullity — it didn’t exist. And if it did, it’s indissoluble. This is clear. Thank you.

Terry Moran, ABC News: Holy Father, thank you, thank you very much and thank you to the Vatican staff as well. Holy Father, you visited the Little Sisters of the Poor and we were told that you wanted to show your support for them and their case in the courts. And, Holy Father, do you also support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example in issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?      Pope Francis: I can’t have in mind all cases that can exist about conscience objection. But, yes, I can say the conscientious objection is a right that is a part of every human right. It is a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.Conscientious objection must enter into every juridical structure because it is a right, a human right. Otherwise we would end up in a situation where we select what is a right, saying ‘this right that has merit, this one does not.’ It (conscientious objection) is a human right. It always moved me when I read, and I read it many times, when I read the “Chanson de Roland” when the people were all in line and before them was the baptismal font and they had to choose between the baptismal font or the sword. They had to choose. They weren’t permitted conscientious objection. It is a right and if we want to make peace we have to respect all rights.

Terry Moran, ABC News: Would that include government officials as well?      Pope Francis:  It is a human right and if a government official is a human person, he has that right. It is a human right.

Stefano Maria Paci, Sky News: Holiness, you used very strong words at the UN to denounce the world’s silence on the persecution of Christians, who are deprived of their homes, thrown out, deprived of their possessions, enslaved and brutally killed. Yesterday, President Hollande announced the beginning of a bombing campaign by France on ISIS bases in Syria. What do you think of this military action?   Also, the mayor of Rome, city of the Jubilee, declared that he came to the World Meeting of Families because you invited him.  Can you tell us how it went?

Pope Francis: I will start with your second question.  I did not invite Mayor Marino. Is that clear?  I didn’t do it and I asked the organizers and they didn’t invite him either. He came. He professes to be a Catholic and he came spontaneously. That’s the first thing. But it is clear, heh? And now about bombardments. Truly, I heard the news the day before yesterday, and I haven’t read about it. I don’t know much about the situation. I heard that Russia took one position and it wasn’t clear yet about the United States.  I truly don’t know what to say because I haven’t fully understood the situation. But, when I hear the word bombing, death, blood… I repeat what I said in Congress and at the UN, to avoid these things. But, I don’t know, I can’t judge the political situation because I don’t know enough about it.

Miriam Schmidt, German DPA Agency: Holy Father, I wanted to ask a question about the relationship of the Holy See with China and the situation in this country which is also quite difficult for the Catholic Church. What do you think about this?

Pope Francis: China is a great nation that offers the world a great culture, so many good things. I said once on the plane when were flying over China when we were coming back from Korea that I would very much like so much to go to China. I love the Chinese people and I hope there is possibility of having good relations, good relations. We’re in contact, we talk, we are moving forward but for me, having a friend of a great country like China, which has so much culture and has so much opportunity to do good, would be a joy.

Maria Sagrarios Ruiz de Apodaca, RNE: Thank you. Good evening, Holy Father. You have visited the U.S. for the first time, you had never been there before. You spoke to Congress, you spoke to the United Nations. You drew multitudes. Do you feel more powerful? And another question, we heard you draw attention to the role of religious women, of the women in the Church in the United States. Will we one day see women priests in the Catholic church as some groups in the U.S. ask, and some other Christian churches have?

Pope Francis: He’s telling me not to answer in Spanish (referring to Fr. Federico Lombardi.) The sisters in the United States have done marvels in the field of education, in the field of health. The people of the United States love the sisters. I don’t know how much they love the priests, (laughs) but they love the sisters, they love them so much. They are great, they are great, great, great women. Then, one follows her congregation, their rules, there are differences. But are they great. And for that reason I felt the obligation to say thank you for what they have done. An important person of the government of the United States told me in the last few days: “The education I have, I owe above all to the sisters.” The sisters have schools in all neighborhoods, rich and poor. They work with the poor and in the hospitals. This was the first. The second? The first I remember, the second?

Maria Sagrarios Ruiz de Apodaca, RNE If you feel powerful after having been in the United States with your schedule and having been successful?

Pope Francis: I don’t know if I had success, no. But I am afraid of myself. Why am I afraid of myself? I feel always – I don’t know – weak in the sense of not having power and also power is a fleeting thing, here today, gone tomorrow. It’s important if you can do good with power. And Jesus defined power, the true power is to serve, to do service, to do the most humble services, and I must still make progress on this path of service because I feel that I don’t do everything I should do. That’s the sense I have of power.

Third, on women priests, that cannot be done. Pope St. John Paul II after long, long intense discussions, long reflection said so clearly. Not because women don’t have the capacity. Look, in the Church women are more important than men, because the church is a woman. It is “la” church, not “il” church. The Church is the bride of Jesus Christ. And the Madonna is more important than popes and bishops and priests. I must admit we are a bit late in an elaboration of the theology of women. We have to move ahead with that theology. Yes, that’s true.

Mathilde Imberty, Radio France Holy Father, you have become a star in the United States. Is it good for the Church if the Pope is a star?

Pope Francis: The Pope must… Do you know what the title was of the Pope that ought to be used? Servant of the servants of God. It’s a little different from the stars. Stars are beautiful to look at. I like to look at them in the summer when the sky is clear. But the Pope must be, must be the servant of the servants of God. Yes, in the media this is happening but there’s another truth. How many stars have we seen that go out and fall. It is a fleeting thing. On the other hand, being servant of the servants of God is something that doesn’t pass.

THERE’S ALSO THIS…..

WORLD COMMUNICATIONS DAY 2016 – (VIS) “Communication and mercy: a fruitful encounter” is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for World Communications Day. The choice was clearly determined by the Celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and the Holy Father desired that World Communications Day would provide the appropriate occasion to reflect on the deep synergy between communication and mercy. World Communications Day, the only annual worldwide event called for by the Second Vatican Council, is celebrated in most countries, on the recommendation of the bishops of the world, on the Sunday before Pentecost (in 2016, May 8th). The Holy Father’s message for World Communications Day is traditionally published on January 24, the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.

CANTATE DOMINO: THE SISTINE CHAPEL AND MUSIC OF THE POPES – VIS/Vatican Radio)  For the first time ever, the Vatican has opened the doors of the iconic Sistine Chapel for a studio recording with the Sistine Chapel Choir – the world’s oldest choir. The new album, “Cantate Domino. The Sistine Chapel and the music of Popes,” captures the sounds of the extraordinary acoustics of the Sistine Chapel, with music performed by the Pope’s own choir.  The album was released on Deutsche Grammophon on September 25, and a presentation given Tuesday in the Holy See Press Office. Presenting the CD were Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, Prefect of the Papal Household; Msgr. Massimo Palombella, S.D.B., director of the Pontifical Sistine Chapel Choir; Mark Wilkinson, president of Deutsche Grammophon; and Mirko Gratton, director of the classical music section of Universal Italia. “The Pontifical Musical Choir, also known as the Sistine Chapel Choir, is among the oldest choral institutions in the world and has the unique characteristic of being the Pope’s choir,” explained Archbishop Gaenswein.

PAPAL MESSAGE FOR 2016 WORLD YOUTH DAY – (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ message for the 31st World Youth Day was released on Monday and focuses on the theme from the Beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’. (Mt 5:7). The next meeting of young people from across the globe will take place in the Polish city of Krakow in July 2016. In the message Pope Francis notes that the forthcoming World Youth Day takes place within the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. For that reason he says, it’s providential that the gathering will take place in the city associated with both Saint John Paul II and Saint Faustina Kowalska, the two great “apostles of mercy of our times.”

POPE FRANCIS ON MIGRANTS, REFUGEES, THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS, CORRUPTION, YOUTH IN CRISIS, MERCY

POPE FRANCIS ON MIGRANTS, REFUGEES, THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS, CORRUPTION, YOUTH IN CRISIS, MERCY

The Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, in its September 14-15 edition, published the Italian translation of an interview by Aura Vistas Miguel, the longtime vaticanista for Portiigal’s Radio Renascena. That inteview has also been translated into English. Below is a Vatican Radio English summary of Aura Miguelì’s interview, followed by a link to the full English intervew

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis spoke about the refugee crisis during an interview with Portugal’s Radio Renascença which aired on Monday, calling it the “tip of an iceberg.”

“These poor people are fleeing war, hunger, but that is the tip of the iceberg. Because underneath that is the cause; and the cause is a bad and unjust socioeconomic system, in everything, in the world – speaking of the environmental problem –, in the socioeconomic society, in politics, the person always has to be in the centre,” Pope Francis said.

The Holy Father said the world must work to help people not feel the need to emigrate.

“Where the causes are hunger, we have to create work, investments. Where the cause is war, search for peace, work for peace,” he said. “Nowadays the world is at war against itself, that is, the world is at war, as I say, in instalments, bit by bit, but it is also at war against the land, because it is destroying the land, our common house, the environment.”

The Pope did, however, admit welcoming refugees is not a riskless proposition.

“I recognize that, nowadays, border safety conditions are not what they once were,” Pope Francis said. “The truth is that just 400 kilometres from Sicily there is an incredibly cruel terrorist group. So there is a danger of infiltration, this is true.”

The Pope said Rome itself would not be immune from this this threat.

“But you can take precautions, and put these people to work,” he said. “But then there is another problem, that Europe is going through a very big labour crisis.”

The Holy Father pointed out immigration is an international and timeless phenomenon, and added the low birthrate in Europe is creating “empty spaces,” which others will try to fill.

“If a country has no children, immigrants come in and take their place,” he said.

“I believe Europe’s greatest challenge is to go back to being a mother Europe,” Pope Francis said, as opposed to a “grandmother Europe.”

Later in the interview, the Pope mentioned this was also his concern for the Church – “become too much of a grandmother, instead of a mother, incapable of generating life” – and he said he hoped the Jubilee of Mercy will allow people to “experience the Church as mother.”

Pope Francis also used the interview to ask people to “pray a lot” for the upcoming Synod on the Family.

“We have high expectations because, obviously, the family is in crisis,” he said. “Young people no longer get married. They don’t get married.”

He also said the Synod would look at ways to help those families living in situations contrary to Church teaching.

“At the synod we will be speaking about all the possible ways to help these families,” Pope Francis said. “But one thing should be very clear – something Pope Benedict left quite clear: people who are in a second union are not excommunicated and should be integrated into Church life. This was made crystal clear. I also said this quite clearly: Drawing closer to the mass, to catechesis, their children’s education, charity… There are so many different options.”

Pope Francis admitted his life after becoming Pope has been an adventure, but said “I did not lose the peace.”

An English translation of the full interview can be found here.