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Full text of Pope Francis’ In-Flight Press Conference (Part II)

“Prudence is the human virtue that regulates our relations”

The following is the second part of the Holy Father’s press conference with journalists on his return flight from Manila on Monday. The translation was provided by Catholic News Agency.

Part III will be published on January 23nd

Jan Cristoph Kitzler: I would like to return for a minute to the encounter you had with families. You have spoken of ideological colonization. Would you explain a bit more the concept? You also mentioned Paul VI, speaking of the “particular causes” that are important to the pastoral care for families. Can you give an example of these particular cases and maybe say also if there is need to open the way, to have a corridor, for these particular cases?

Pope Francis: Ideological colonization. I’ll give just one example that I saw myself. Twenty years ago, in 1995, a minister of education asked for a large loan to build schools for the poor. They gave it to her on the condition that in the schools there would be a book for the children of a certain level, no? It was a school book, a book prepared well, didactically, in which gender theory was taught.

This woman needed the money but that was the condition. Clever woman, she said yes and did it again and again and it went ahead like this and that’s how it was achieved. This is ideological colonization.

They introduce to the people an idea that has nothing nothing to do with the nation. Yes, with groups of people, but not with the nation. And they colonize the people with an idea which changes, or wants to change, a mentality or a structure.

During the synod, the African bishops complained about this. Which was the same story, certain loans in exchange for certain conditions — I say only these things that I have seen.
Why do I say ideological colonization? Because they take, they really take, they take the need of a people to seize an opportunity to enter and grow strong — with the children. But it is not new, this. The same was done by the dictatorships of the last century. They entered with their own doctrine — think of the Balilla (Mussolini’s fascist youth organization — editor’s note), think of the Hitler Youth.

They colonized the people, but they wanted to do it. But how much suffering — peoples must not lose their freedom. Each people has its own culture, its own history. Every people has its own culture.

But when conditions come imposed by imperial colonizers, they seek to make these peoples lose their own identity and make a uniformity. This is the globalization of the sphere — all the points are equidistant from the center. And the true globalization — I like to say this — is not the sphere. It is important to globalize, but not like the sphere; rather, like the polyhedron. Namely that each people, every part, conserves its own identity without being ideologically colonized. These are the ideological colonizations.

There is a book, excuse me but I’ll make a commercial, there is a book that maybe is a bit heavy at the beginning because it was written in 1903 in London. It is a book that at that time, the writer had seen this drama of ideological colonization and wrote in that book. It is called “The Lord of the Earth,” or “The Lord of the World.” One of those. The author is Benson, written in 1903. I advise you to read it. Reading it, you’ll understand well what I mean by ideological colonization.

This is the first response. The second: What I want to say about Paul VI is that it is true that openness to life is the condition of the sacrament of matrimony. A man cannot give the sacrament to the woman, and the woman give it to him, if they are not in agreement on this point to be open to life. To the point that it can be proven that this or the other did not get married with this intention of being open to life, the matrimony is null. It’s a cause of the annulment of the marriage, no? Openness to life, no.

Paul VI studied this, with the commission, how to help the many cases, many problems. They are important problems, that are even about love in the family, right? The everyday problems — so many of them.

But there was something more. The refusal of Paul VI was not only to the personal problems, for which he will tell the confessors to be merciful and understand the situation and pardon. Being understanding and merciful, no? But he was watching the universal Neo-Malthusianism that was in progress. And, how do you call this Neo-Malthusianism? There is less than one percent of birth rate growth in Italy. The same in Spain. That Neo-Malthusianism that sought to control humanity on the part of the powers.

This doesn’t mean that the Christian must make children “in series.” I met a woman some months ago in a parish who was pregnant with her eighth child, who had had seven C-sections. But does she want to leave the seven as orphans? This is to tempt God. I speak of responsible paternity. This is the way, a responsible paternity.

But, what I wanted to say was that Paul VI was not more antiquated, closed minded. No, he was a prophet who with this said to watch out for the Neo-Malthusianism that is coming. This is what I wanted to say.

Fr. Lombardi: I now give the question to Valentina, but I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we are now over China — we seem to have now become accustomed to holding press conferences over China, as we did returning from Korea.

Valentina Alazraki: On the flight from Sri Lanka you used the image of the gesture that this poor man (Gasbarri) might have merited if he insulted your mother would have merited a punch. Your words were not well understood by everyone in the world and seemed to justify the use of violence in the face of provocation. Could you explain a little better what you meant to say?

Pope Francis: In theory we can say that a violent reaction in the face of an offense or a provocation, in theory yes, it is not a good thing, one shouldn’t do it. In theory we can say what the Gospel says, that we should turn the other cheek. In theory we can say that we have freedom of expression, and that’s important. But in theory we all agree. But we are human and there’s prudence, which is a virtue of human coexistence. I cannot constantly insult, provoke a person continuously, because I risk making him angry, and I risk receiving an unjust reaction, one that is not just. But that’s human. For this reason I say that freedom of expression must take into account the human reality and for this reason it must be prudent. It’s a way of saying that one must be educated, prudent. Prudence is the human virtue that regulates our relations. I can go up to here,  I can go up to there, and there, beyond that no. What I wanted to say is that in theory we all agree: there is freedom of expression, a violent aggression is not good, it’s always bad. We all agree, but in practice, let us stop a little because we are human and we risk provoking the other. For this reason freedom must be accompanied by prudence. That’s what I wanted to say.

Nicole Winfield, AP: For the English Group, I would like to ask you again about this year’s trip. You already told us that the trip to United States was previewed and mentioned three cities: New York, Washington and Philadelphia. Then, with the canonization of Serra, we ask if a stop to California is foreseeable, or at the Mexican border. Then, in South America, you told our colleague Elisabetta that three trips in three Latin American countries are previewed. Which are the countries? And do you think to beatify personally Archbishop Romero, who was recently considered a martyr (by the commission of theologians of the Congregation for the Cause of Saints, editor’s note)?

Pope Francis: I start from the last one. There will be a war between Cardinal Amato and monsignor Paglia (laughs) over which of the two will do the beatification.
No, beatifications are normally carried out by the Cardinal of the dicastery (for saints’ causes), or another (bishop).

Let’s go the first question of the United States. Yes, the three cities are Philadelphia, for the Meeting of Families; New York, I have the date already but I can’t remember, for the visit at the UN; and Washington. It is these three.

I would like to go to California for the canonization of Junipero, but I think there is a problem of time. It requires two more days . I think that I will do that canonization at the shrine (of the Immaculate Conception) in Washington, it is is a national thing.
In Washington, I’m not sure where, there is a statue of Junipero, at the capitol.
To enter the USA from the border of Mexico would be a beautiful thing, as a sign of brotherhood and of help to the immigrants.

But you know that go to Mexico without going to visit the Madonna (of Guadalupe) would be a drama . A war could break out (laughing).

And also it would mean three more days, and this is not clear. There I think there will only be those three cities. Later there will be time to go to Mexico.

Did I forget something? Latin America countries?

We have foreseen for this year – everything is still in draft form — Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. These three.

Next year God willing, I would like to go, but nothing is planned yet. Chile, Argentina and Uruguay and Peru are missing there, but we don’t know where to put it.

Father Lombardi: Thank you. We already have quite a precise and wide program of the (Pope’s) travels. Everything is provisional (this is just a draft schedule) – nothing is decided yet.

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On ZENIT’s website:

To read Part I, go to: 

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/full-text-of-pope-francis-in-flight-press-conference-part-i

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