After hosting Pope Francis on his first international trip as Pontiff — World Youth Day in Brazil — the leader of the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro has now been named a cardinal.
ZENIT spoke to Cardinal-designate Orani João Tempesta about the needs and the future of the Church.
ZENIT: The 2013 Rio World Youth Day awakened yet more interest in the Church in Brazil. What do people expect from Brazilian Catholics?
Cardinal-designate Tempesta: The 2013 Rio WYD gave Catholics great visibility. We hope that the spirit of hospitality, of good participation, of growth in the faith will continue. We all hope for a better world, built by all the sectors of society. The WYD left that legacy of fraternal coexistence, solidarity, joy, peace and unity in keeping with the values of the Gospel. Catholics must give this example as missionary disciples of Christ.
ZENIT: Pope Francis’ pontificate calls attention to the dimension of poverty. How can the social dimension be explained, especially for Latin America so wounded by liberation theology?
Cardinal-designate Tempesta: The Pope has said that all social work comes from the love of God and of one’s neighbor. Social work is a consequence of this love of neighbor. A true theology of liberation makes one see the injustices, but social promotion is part of the mission, leading us to concretize that social dimension.
ZENIT: There seems to be a new awakening of the Catholic Church in several countries. How do you see this time of the Church?
Cardinal-designate Tempesta: It is a time of mission, of conversion, of new life and the cross, of going out to proclaim the Gospel, to make disciples, to build a new world and, if necessary, to die like and for Christ. The time we are living now is that of the proactive Church, that goes out to the front, calling attention to correct things, to regulate society,the challenges of a world of inequality. It is for this that the Pope is awakening people.
ZENIT: The Year of Faith has come to an end. What now?
Cardinal-designate Tempesta: The Year of Faith was an opportunity that Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed to deepen faith and call people to live this experience intensely. It sparked many initiatives, further reflection, knowledge, experience. We intensely hope that the Year of Faith was not an occasion for the simple passing from one reflection to another, or from one thematic year to another. We hope that the seeds planted in the Year of Faith will be able to bear fruit, watered by the living water of charity so that we grow increasingly from virtue to virtue, until we attain the state of “perfect men,” men and women to the stature of Christ’s maturity.
ZENIT: Pope Francis convoked the 3rdExtraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, whose theme is The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization. Is it possible to name the greatest challenge of the family pastoral?
Cardinal-designate Tempesta: In this changing society, the challenge is to strengthen family bonds, to help families to be formators of persons that build society. We want families rooted in the evangelical values, that procreate children in love, that love one another mutually and whose love overflows to the whole of society.
ZENIT: What changes can we expect from Cardinal Orani João Tempesta?
Cardinal-designate Tempesta: We have much work in Rio. I am available for all of Pope Francis’ requests. The work in the Archdiocese of Rio continues the same, but I want to respond to the questions of the Pope whenever he wishes for the meetings in the Vatican.[Translation by ZENIT]