Bernarda Llorente Interviews Pope Francis Photo: Vatican Media

In a New Interview Pope Addresses Crisis, Messianism and Reveals a Possible Trip to New Guinea . . . and Argentina

Among the main revelations are the important trips that remain in his pontificate

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 19.10.2023).- With two months to go before the end of 2023, Pope Francis is closing the year with a new interview, this time with the Argentine State Agency Tesla.

Among the main revelations are the important trips that remain in his pontificate. Asked about that, the Holy Father doesn’t hesitate to say Argentina in the first place . . .  “I’d like to go . . . When it comes to more distant countries, I still haven’t visited Papua New Guinea. Somebody said that if I go to Argentina, I should stop at Rio Gallegos, then head to the South Pole, land in Melbourne and visit New Zealand. It would be a rather long journey.”



One of the subjects of the interview is the binomial crisis and messianism. The interviewer speaks of far-right Movements (omitting those of the far-left) and asks: “do you see these crises as momentary or long-lasting? What can be done to overturn them?”The Pontiff replies:

“I like the word “crisis” because it contains inner movement. Yet, the only way out from a crisis is upward, there is no easy way out. The way out is upward and never on our own. Those who intend to emerge alone from a crisis, turn the way out into a labyrinth that goes round and round. A crisis is a labyrinth. Also, a crisis makes you grow. Whether it’s a person, a family, a country or a civilization in crisis, if it is solved well, there is growth.

I’m concerned when problems turn to themselves and there seems to be no way out. We must teach young boys and girls to be able to manage a crisis. To solve a crisis. Because that instils maturity.  We were all unexperienced young people once, and sometimes young boys and girls hold onto miracles, to a messiah, to things being solved in a messianic way. There is only one Messiah who saved us all. The rest are all clowns of messianism. None of them can promise a solution to conflicts, unless it’s emerging upward from the crisis. And never on our own. Let’s think of any kind of political crisis, in a country that doesn’t know what to do, there are many in Europe. What can be done? Shall we look for a messiah to come save us? No. We must find where the conflict is and solve it. There is wisdom is the management of a crisis. But you can’t move forward without a conflict.”



One of the current topics of general interest addressed during the interview is Artificial Intelligence. The Pope will dedicate two messages to this, hence, extending his magisterium to this field: through the Message for the 2024 World Day of Peace and the Message for the 2024 World Day of Social Communications.

What do you think of this accelerated technological development, such as Artificial Intelligence, and in which way do you think it could be addressed from a more human point of view? Pope Francis answers:

“I like the word ‘accelerated.’ When something is accelerated, it worries me, because there is no time for it to settle. When we look back at the industrial revolution up until the 1950s, we see non-accelerated development. There were control and helping mechanisms. When change is accelerated, there is not enough time for assimilation mechanisms, and we end up becoming slaves. It is equally dangerous to be a slave to a person or to a job, as it is to be a slave to a culture.

The key to cultural progress, such as Artificial Intelligence, is the ability of men and women to handle it, assimilate it and control it. That is, men and women are masters of Creation, and we must not give that up. A person’s control over anything. Serious scientific change is progress. We must be open to that.”



Addressing the issue of war, the Pope is asked to develop a concept coined by himself – that of integral security. And to this Pope Francis says:  “A country cannot have partial security unless there is integral security for everybody. It is impossible to speak of social security unless it is a universal security, or in the process of becoming universal. I believe dialogue cannot be just nationalist, it must be universal, especially nowadays with the advanced communication systems we have. That is why I speak of universal dialogue, universal harmony, universal encounter. And of course, the enemy of this is war. Since the end of World War II up until today, there have been wars everywhere. That’s what I meant when I said we are living a World War in pieces. Now we see it because that World War is close.”



Another topic of current interest addressed during the interview is the situation of the Church. After mentioning that the Synod on Synodality is underway, the Pope is asked: “What kind of Church is needed for these times?” And the Argentine Pontiff replies:  “Since the Second Vatican Council, John XXIII had a very clear perception: the Church has to change. Paul VI agreed, just like the succeeding Popes. It’s not just changing ways, it’s about a change of growth, in favour of the dignity of people. That’s theological progression, of Moral Theology and all the ecclesiastical sciences, even in the interpretation of Scriptures that have progressed according to the feelings of the Church. Always in harmony. Rupture is not good. We either progress through development or things don’t turn out right. Rupture leaves you out of the sap of development. I like the image of a tree and its roots. The roots receive the humidity of the soil and take it upward, through the trunk. When you separate yourself from that, you end up dry, without traditions. Tradition in the good sense of the word. We all have traditions, a family, we were all born within the culture of a country, a political culture. We all have a tradition for which to take responsibility.

Then the Holy Father is asked one of the most interesting questions:

How can the tension between changing and not losing its essence be solved?”

“The Church, through dialogue and taking up new challenges, has changed in many ways. Even regarding cultural matters. A 4th Century theologist said that changes in the Church must comply to three conditions to be real: consolidating, growing and ennoble themselves along the years. It is a very inspiring definition by Vincent of Lérins. The Church has to change. Let’s think of the ways it has changed since the Council until now and the way it must continue changing its ways, in the way to propose an unchanging truth. That is, the revelation of Jesus Christ does not change, the dogmas of the Church do not change, they grow and ennoble themselves like the sap of a tree. The person who does not follow this path, follows a path that takes steps backward, a path that closes on itself. Changes in the Church take place within this identity flow of the Church. And it has to keep changing along the way, as challenges are met. That is why the core of change is fundamentally pastoral, without recanting the essence of the Church.”


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