Pope Francis gave an in-depth interview which was published yesterday on the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion. In it, the Holy Father answered several questions by journalist Elisabetta Pique on the reform of the Roman Curia, perceived resistance against him, and the Synod of Bishops on the Family.
Noting that while the Pope has spoken with clarity on many issues, Pique asked him for his thoughts on concerns that the Church is like “a ship without a rudder”. The Pope said that while the media often cites that phrase, he is unaware of anyone expressing that directly to him.
However, the Holy Father acknowledged that someone once asked him for more clarity when it came to issues.
“Look, I wrote an encyclical, true enough, it was a big job, and an Apostolic Exhortation, I’m permanently making statements, giving homilies; that’s teaching,” he said. “That’s what I think, not what the media say that I think. Check it out, it’s very clear. Evangelii Gaudium is very clear.”
Regarding the reform of the Roman Curia, the Pope said that while “resistance is evident”, the Pope said that such resistance is a good sign. “To get things out into the open,” he added, is “very healthy”.
The reform of the Roman Curia, he continued, is not a cleansing but rather leading the Curia in the “direction identified by the General Congregations”, prior to his election to the papacy.
“In pre-conclave meetings, as cardinals we have demanded lots of things which we should certainly not forsake,” the Pope said to Pique.
Meanwhile, the Pope expressed his satisfaction at the current reforms and transparency measures in place, particularly with the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). However, he stressed his main concern was spiritual reform: “to change people’s hearts”.
“Spiritual exercises for prefects and secretaries are a step ahead. It is a step ahead to stay six days locked in, praying; just as we did last year, we’ll do it again the first week of Lent. We’ll be staying at the same house,” he said.
Speaking on the upcoming meeting of the G9, the Council of Cardinals that advise him on Curial reform, the Pope said that there is still much to be done and that they are “tackling it little by little.”
Pontificate and the Synod of Bishops
Pique asked Pope Francis on his thought regarding his time as Pontiff. The Pope revealed that prior to his arrival in Rome for the General Congregations and the Conclave, he had already begun the retirement process.
The 77 year old Pontiff said he had already put together a list of candidates to succeed him with the Apostolic Nuncio and planned on spending his retirement hearing confessions in the city of Luján. “My mind was focused on the confessionals of the churches where I would be hearing confession,” he said.
“When I came here, he continued, I had to start all over again, all this was new. From the start I said to myself: “Jorge, don’t change, just keep on being yourself, because to change at your age would be to make a fool of yourself”. That’s why I’ve always kept on doing what I used to do in Buenos Aires; perhaps even making my old mistakes. But I prefer it like this, to be myself.”
When asked regarding fears of a “collapse” of traditional doctrine on marriage during the Synod of the Family, the Jesuit Pope made clear that homosexual “marriage” was not mentioned by anyone at the Synod. “It did not cross our minds,” he said.
Confusion regarding the mid-term ‘Relatio Synodi’ caused media outlets to say that the Church was changing its stance on homosexual unions. However, the Pope said that “the opinion of a synodal father was just that, the opinion of a synodal father.”
“What we did talk about was of how a family with a homosexual child, whether a son or a daughter, goes about educating that child, how the family bears up, how to help that family to deal with that somewhat unusual situation,” he clarified.
“That is to say, the synod addressed the family and the homosexual persons in relation to their families, because we come across this reality all the time in the confessional: a father and a mother whose son or daughter is in that situation. This happened to me several times in Buenos Aires. We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their son or daughter. That´s what the synod addressed. That’s why someone mentioned positive factors in the first draft. But this was just a draft.”
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On the NET:
To read Elisabetta Pique’s interview with Pope Francis in English, go to: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1750350-pope-francis-god-has-bestowed-on-me-a-healthy-dose-of-unawareness