Pope Francis has praised his precedecessor St Pope John XXIII in a recently-granted interview with Italian daily “Eco di Bergamo.”
To mark the 60th anniversary of St. Pope John XXIII’s election as Pope and 55th anniversary of his death, the late Pope’s home Diocese of Bergamo is hosting the late Pope’s remains for nearly 20 days, and likewise, the Pope granted Bergamo’s newspaper this interview, which was published this morning.
In the interview, the Holy Father discusses issues ranging from young people and Christianity’s need to be an ‘encounter with Christ,’ to interreligious dialogue and terrorism
Responding to other inquiries, the Jesuit Pontiff also reflected on St. John XXIII and praised his witness and love for the Gospel.
“Christianity,” the Pope highlights in the interview, “is not an ideal to follow, a philosophy to adhere to or a moral to be applied,” but is rather “an encounter with Jesus Christ that makes us recognize in the flesh of brothers and sisters His very presence.” It requires going to “the heart” of the Gospel.
This, the Holy Father urges, is an invitation for us “to share the bread with the hungry, to cure the sick, the elderly, those who can not give us anything, nothing in return.” The story of Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli who would become St Pope John XXIII, Francis said, is composed of these “gestures of closeness” with the suffering and the needy, regardless of their religion.
The Church, the Pope said, is by nature “missionary,” adding She must go out to witness the Gospel.
Otherwise, he warned, it will become “self-referential” and “ideological.”
Faced with the “barbarization of society,” Francis says it is necessary to look at people and truth, especially because man has free will and responsibility and can either engage in understanding and encounter or opposition and war.
Francis lamented that even in the Church “when one does not live the logic of communion but of corporations,” there are dangers that strategies of war can be waged against others for power or roles.
Hence, he stressed: “It is precisely people who are the antidote to falsehoods, not strategies.”
Faced with questions about interreligious dialogue, the Pope suggested that it is ‘a lie’ and ‘nonsense’ to equate Islam and terrorism.
On the NET: