“It’s very hard to put ourselves in others’ shoes, because we are often slaves of our egoism,” says Pope Francis in an interview with the Italian magazine “Scarp de’ Tenis” (‘Sneakers’), which is run by homeless people. The interview was published today, Feb. 28, 2017, in a Holy See Bulletin.
According to Vatican Radio, the publication also functions as a social project, as most of the staff is homeless, suffers difficult personal situations or forms of social exclusion. For most contributors, the magazine is an important source of income. In 2008, the periodical entered into partnership with the Italian arm of Caritas, the Vatican’s charity organization.
“To put oneself in others’ shoes,” the Pope noted in the interview, “means to have a great capacity of understanding, of understanding the moment and difficult situations. I’ll give an example: at the moment of mourning, condolences are expressed, one takes part in the funeral vigil or at the table, but it is truly few who put themselves in the shoes of that widower or widow or that orphan,” noted the Pontiff, paraphrasing the name of the monthly that interviewed him.
Francis acknowledged: “it’s not easy” to “put oneself in others’ shoes,” which means “service, humility, magnanimity, which is also the expression of a need.” He explained that he has often met persons that, after having sought comfort in a Christian, be it a layman, a priest, a sister, or a bishop, they have said to him ”Yes, he listened to me, but he didn’t understand me.”
In fact, the Holy Father comments, “often, one is lost for words. One speaks. One speaks. One gives advice.” But, according to Francis, “when there are only words or too many words there isn’t this ‘greatness’ of putting ourselves in others’ shoes.”