“When I think of Pope Francis, I must say that the first word that comes to my mind is compassion,” said Martin Scorsese. “It seems extraordinary to me that this man is our Pope. He is a blessing. And I consider it a blessing to have known him”
“Read the Holy Father’s words,” he invites. “You find yourself face to face with him and you realize that he is a man who sees the spiritual foundation of the Church.”
The famous Director granted an interview to Andrea Monda, Director of L’Osservatore Romano, on January 9, 2020. After a meeting in 2018, Martin Scorsese and Pope Francis met again last October 21. “They renewed their conversation as two old friends that understand each other on the go, without any effort,” specified Andrea Monda. They began “a simple and profound conversation, which rapidly focused on the name Dostoevsky, a shared passion,” he added.
“After asking him about his wife, the Pope wanted to know more about his new film, “The Irishman,” and the Italian-American Director explained that it is a film about time and about our mortal condition, friendship, betrayal, remorse, and repentance for the past,” continued Monda.
“The Way of Christ”
“I believe that the way of Christ is the only thing that makes our survival possible,” said Scorsese in his interview. “It’s the only way I see for humanity . . . to be able to change and evolve effectively, moving away from destruction. I’m referring to this, not in a cultural sense but, in a spiritual sense,” he stressed.
Scorsese went on to say that “Christ’s teachings” had left “a profound impression on him” from “an early age.” This “is part of what formed me,” he added, “which means that it’s part of what I am today.”
“This was never a choice for me,” continued Scorsese. “I don’t think it’s so easy to abandon what has formed one from a spiritual point of view in one’s life and to change one’s faith as one changes one’s clothes.”
The film Director explained that the subject of spirituality “occupied him for a large part “of his life and that it is “present in the majority of his films. It’s about knowing “how to conciliate the external world of circumstances with the inner world of faith,” he said. It’s a “question that has always accompanied me and that I have addressed in different ways according to the different moments of my life.”
The Church, “A Question of Spirit”
Martin Scorsese affirmed that although the Catholic Church “is a vast institution,” “a tradition,” an enterprise, an enormous organization,” in its essence “it’s not a question of human or worldly affairs, but a question of spirit.” “This is the stone, the foundation, the practice and the living following of Christ’s example. Pope Francis repeats this and asks that we recognize it,” he said.
“In the Church, I have learned of these diocesan priests of the street that one can be hard on the outside and compassionate on the inside and that the hardness is a way of nourishing that compassion –or, one could say, Jesus’ commandment of love — within us. It’s one of the loveliest gifts I have received,” he said.
Scorsese believes that “confession is one of the most powerful spiritual instruments that the Church has.” “It’s a genuine examination of what you are, of all your doubts, fears and transgressions, and the act of confession itself opens the door to another possibility, that of trying again.” “Even if you don’t receive absolution, in any case, you have opened the door.”