Below is an English translation of the Pope’s responses to the questions posed to him by children ahead of his Feb. 12-18 Apostolic Visit to Mexico. The Q & A was captured in video clips, which can be requested from Centro Televisivo Vaticano.
ZENIT was given permission to publish the translation by the Mexican news agency Notimex, who provided us with the below English translation:
Special program: “Francis speaks with Mexico”
Mary / Puebla: Well, I guess he expects us to give him a warmth welcome.
Fernando / San Luis Potosi: Thank you for coming to Mexico, first of all your visit is a great relief sent by God to Mexicans, and we hope grateful Mexicans receive you with open arms.
Aaron Fonseca / Mexico City: That you would give us a message of peace to all Mexicans, to all who are believers and Catholics that somehow will touch their hearts. And coming from a person like the Pope it could bring more in order in our thoughts and how we conduct our daily lives.
Ruben de la Cruz Martinez / Guanajuato: Congratulate you for your Petrine ministry that has had a big success in the universal church, congratulate you on the matter you have invited us to be a poor Church and a missionary Church, a Church that goes outside , to the remote, to go looking for the lost sheep. Especially congratulate you because you have invited us to become aware of what must be a Christian living Gospel authentically.
Mary and Quique / Queretaro: Sounds good to me that instead of perpetuating the difference and discrimination in the world, you are trying to alleviate all those gaps between all.
Martha Aurora / Guadalajara: Well, endorse the faith in one most than anything, I consider myself a person with great faith and consider you a very humble person, I like you, the way you are, the thinking you have and your way for young people, because you are much aimed indeed at young people.
Maria Teresa / Tlaxcala: First of all, welcome you to our country. Secondly, I would ask you to exhort all our country to live in peace.
Sergio “Lennon” / Guanajuato: And it really gives me great joy that the Pope is coming to see us and bring us a little happiness to all Mexicans … with all the respect he deserves, we’ll sing a song for you… (Song plays).
Aaron Fonseca / Mexico City: What is your feeling to be in our country and what is the message you would give to our country? considering our current situation.
Jorge Armando / Mexico City: Your Holiness, Why have you come to Mexico?, What have you brought us?
P. Your Holiness, Why have you come to Mexico?, What have you brought us?
R. Yes, I´ll bring something to Mexico, sure, but I would like to tell you that what really moves me: what am I seeking in Mexico? I’m going to Mexico not as a Wise Man charged of things to bring, messages, ideas, solutions to problems, think not know all those things. I’m going to Mexico as a pilgrim, I will look at the Mexican people to give me something. I will not pass the little basket, stay calm, but I will seek wealth of faith that you have, I’ll look forward to catch that wealth of faith. I want to go to Mexico to live the faith with you. So I’m going with my heart open for you to fill it with anything you can give me. You have an idiosyncrasy, a way of being that is the result of a very long road, a story that was slowly forging, with pain, with successes and failures, with searches, but there is a common thread. You have a lot of wealth in your heart and, above all, you are not an orphan people because you have the privilege of having a Mother, and when a man or a woman, or a people does not forget their mother that gives you a treasure you cannot describe, you receive it, you transmit it. Well, I’ll look a little of all that in you. A people that does not forget its mother, the mestizo mother, the mother who forged you in hope. Do you know the joke of a Mexican saying: “I am an atheist but I believe in Guadalupe”. It made sense, of a people that refuses to be orphan. That way, perhaps it is the great wealth that I will seek. I go as a pilgrim of you and thanks for having me!
The Virgin of Guadalupe
Guillermo / Queretaro: She is not only the patron saint of Mexico, I would say she is the Empress of America.
Maria Alicia / Puerto de Veracruz: I think not only Mexicans believe in the Virgin Mary, but the world.
Natally / Mexico City: I think the Pope wants to somehow regain the roots that were Mexico, which are the Virgin of Guadalupe, which is the Catholic faith.
Olga Gil / Guanajuato: either is ok with people or not, either believers or non-believers, it is the truth; she is the patron saint of Mexico. She is my patron, regardless that I am a believer or not.
Gabriela / San Luis Potosi: I think it’s a very representative figure of what Mexicans think we are, our roots.
Ricardo Miguel / Guadalajara: not only the patron saint of Mexico, I think she is the Empress of the Americas and around the world right? Is the same Virgin Mary who is present here in Mexico.
Francisco Perez / San Luis Potosi: For us it is a blessing for you to consider our Virgin, me being a Mexican, in all the country where our Virgin is known. It is so beautiful and full of joy.
Maria de Jesus Angel Avila / Veracruz: She has served us well, for Catholics she is our mother, who is always giving us our devotion to her, so she sends us her blessings from there, from where she is, and the truth is she does mean a lot for Mexicans, Our Morenita de Tepeyac.
Julian / Mexico City: Pope Francis, What you think of the Virgin of Guadalupe?
Aaron Fonseca / Mexico City: I would like to know if the Virgin of Guadalupe for us Mexicans is so important and represents a lot of faith and hope in everyone, but what it represents for him ?, to be or have to be in the Basilica, what it represents our patron saint Virgin of Guadalupe for him?
Pope Francis: I was twice in Mexico. Once in the year 1970 for a meeting of Jesuits. The second time when Pope John Paul II signed and delivered the post sine Exhortation Ecclesia in America – I cannot remember what year it was must have been 98 by my calculation. Both times I went to visit her, the Lady, the Mother, the Mother of God for whom we live. The first time, in the old town. The second time, in the current basilica, in the present church. What do I feel about her? Safety and tenderness. How many times I am afraid of some problem or that something ugly has happened and you do not know how to react, and I pray, I like repeating myself: “Do not be afraid, Am I not here who am your Mother.” These are her words: “Do not be afraid.” It’s what she tells me the most. Another invocation of the Virgin may inspire me something else, but every time I get in front of her image and look at her, with those eyes, making that cultural synthesis of this new world is being born, expecting the child, “Do not be afraid , Am I not here who am your Mother. ” And therefore I do not expect the miracle of flowers. That´s what I feel, she is a Mother who cares, protects, who runs a village, who conducts a family, who gives warmth for homes, who tenderly caresses and takes away the fear: “Fear not Juancito.” That’s what I feel in front of the image. One of the two times I went, somebody wanted to explain the image to me and chose not, I stay silent watching. It says a lot, is a “talkative” image, the image of a mother that shelters, who cares, who is into her village with the skin of her people. That’s what I feel in front of her. When I came to Rome in 2013, I was beginning to build the San Juan Diego parish in Buenos Aires, which I named patron saint of florists. San Juan Diego much tells me of his relationship with the Virgin. Good man, but he had to get into that world to convince the bishop, and this … and feel the humiliation they did not believe him, “Fear not, Am I not here who am your Mother.” And he confided. Miracle of flowers, if possible because Mother is the great flower of Mexico. What I would ask is – but as a favor to you, this time- that this time, which is my third time in Mexican soil, to leave me alone for a little while before the image. It is the favor I ask. Would you do it?.
Messages of peace
Juan / Mexico City: As he arrives to Mexico, May he is the first one to see the immigrants and their suffering to reach the American dream.
Natally / Mexico City: I feel that somehow maybe the Catholic Church could help immigrants a little more right? Especially in the suffering they are going through, what happened to the children. I feel there could be some help, more help, especially since we are Catholics, we want to be charitable, we give ourselves, love the neighbor, but sadly there is a certain barrier.
Oscar / Mexico City: For me the Pope’s visit is too much, right? Because of violence in Mexico, everything that is happening and he comes as a light to Mexico.
Gabriela / San Luis Potosi: I really like him to come and see if there’s some peace because as we are living currently, one is afraid to go out, a lot of crime and all that, and maybe his visit will blesses us a bit, our Mexico, which is what we all want.
Group of women / Queretaro: That the Pope can open our eyes to say no to violence, to violence against women, against children and violence in general against the whole world.
Hermenegilda / Mexico City: That he brings us a blessing, so this country is at peace, there is less crime.
Jose Angel Herrera / Basilica of Guadalupe (Mexico City): I would ask him as a Mexican to pray for all countries, so that violence is over.
Carlos Espinoza / Queretaro: An intervention for Mexicans, as we are going through a very difficult situation.
Jose / Mexico City: I think he expects to see the problems of crime, the problems of poverty that has Mexico.
Juan Valderrama / Ciudad Juarez: to help us here to bless Juarez, because it is very dangerous here, all Juarez. Let him give us give peace here in Juarez.
Jose de Jesus / Guadalajara: I would ask him to do everything possible for the world to have peace and tolerance.
Elsa Dudant / Mexico City: I would like to tell him I want a world of peace, a world of friendship among peoples and to end the wars in the world.
Hermenegilda / Mexico City: how we could us help to address this situation we are living here in Mexico?
Oscar / Mexico City: Pope Francis, How could you help us deal with the violence that is going on here?
Pope Francis: Violence, corruption, war, children who cannot go to school for their countries at war, trafficking, arms manufacturers selling arms so the wars in the world can continue, more or less this is the weather we live today in the world, and you are living your bit, your bit of “war”, your bit of suffering, violence, organized trafficking. If I go there, it’s to get the best of you and to pray with you, so that problems of violence, corruption and all that you know is happening, is resolved, because the Mexico of violence, Mexico of corruption, Mexico of drug trafficking, the Mexico of cartels is not the Mexico our Mother wants, and of course I do not want to cover anything like that, on the contrary, I want encourage them to fight every day against corruption, trafficking, against war, against disunity, against organized crime, against trafficking. “That brings us some peace,” said one of you. Peace is something we have to work every day, I would even say it is a word that seems like a contradiction, peace must be fought every day!, we must fight every day for peace, not war. Sow gentleness, understanding, sow peace. San Francisco prayed: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”. I would like to be in Mexico an instrument of peace, but with all of you. It is obvious that I cannot do it by myslef, it would be crazy if I said that, but with all of you, an instrument of peace. And how peace is kneaded? Peace is a craft work, an everyday work that is kneaded with your hands, from how to educate a boy, to caress an old man, they are all seeds of peace. Word caress. Peace is born from tenderness, peace is born from understanding, peace is born or made with dialogue, not the break, and this is the key word, dialogue: dialogue between the leaders, dialogue with the people and dialogue among all the people. How often we found in a neighborhood fight a solution that seems best. And no, that’s a small war. Even in the neighborhood, even in the family, we find love and peace, and that is done with the dialogue: be open to talk to the other, to listen to their reasons, to be left uncorrected. “Father, but one cannot do that with a criminal.” That’s true, but I can talk to who can change his heart to that offender. We have the same mother, we talked about her a while ago. And tell: “Look, if you told me that I would not be afraid because you are my mother, you who are my mother have to manage that.” Yes, I would make the question to each of you: I ask the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s mother, Empress of America, I ask her for peace, I ask her to make peace, in that place, in that another, in such another, or a prayer to the mother to bring peace? Do not be afraid to listen to others, to see what reasons they have. And, please, do not enter any, in any braid to make money, I enslave myself all my life in an inner war and took my freedom away, for peace gives freedom. I’m going to ask the Virgin, along with you, to give you that peace, that Guadalupe gives you peace of heart, for family, for your city, and across the country.
The Pope’s visit to Mexico Francisco
Toris Consuelo Beltran / Mexico City: I think it’s a great blessing that you come to our country because many people are losing faith and I think the purpose is to renew our faith and union as a family.
Maria Luisa Cruz / Oaxaca: It will be a blessing of God, is not it?, who is urging all Mexicans to be fine. That’s the main thing. If you come, you will be received with open arms.
Ruben de la Cruz Martinez / Guanajuato: get out of our lethargy in the experience of faith, which is not only a faith lived in the house but is a faith that is lived on the street, at work, in the office, in politics, in the media, as we have to be sowers of the Gospel values in these fields because we cannot be temple Christians.
Gabriela / San Luis Potosi: I think he is looking for an approach to people, he is having a more human contact, he is reaching that, what Jesus aspired, to be a humble person, to approach his people, to the ones we believe in him and I think he expects of us such empathy, the emotion and passion towards the Catholic religion.
José Ranulfo Lobato / Guanajuato: Geez, it is a bit difficult answer, but I think they are two things what he says, “Here I am, I need to do, you are already convinced that I’ve been trying to change or modernize religion, I need your help” .
Andrea / Puebla: For me it is wonderful that he comes, because I feel it is a blessing for us Mexicans.
Olga Gil / Guanajuato: He knows that Mexico is the gateway to Latin America, is the door to enter the believing people of Catholicism and I think to some extent he follows the footsteps of John Paul II, I wish he continues in the good way and not divert attention from really important matters.
Jorge Armando / Mexico City: I think first that there is an economic factor, but this is as much a benefit in the sense of a crisis. The Popes have always come when there is a crisis and when we are in a crisis, it is a good time for the Pope to come to soften a bit these critical moments.
Maria de Lourdes Mejia / Mexico City: Well, I’d like to ask you what you would want from us and what do you expect?
Pope Francis: They say that wisdom speaks from the heart of the good elderly. And in the wishes, José Ranulfo mentioned that desire for spiritual renewal that could be given with my visit. Ruben had said before, that we were not Christians “in Church”, Catholic church and outside the church, anything, that faith blooms. These two interventions came to me a lot: help us to be truly Catholic, to express and to live our faith inside and outside the temple. That’s what you expect. And I’m going to serve, for that, to be a servant of your faith, because that’s why I became a priest, to serve, because I felt the calling to serve your faith, to serve the people’s faith. But that faith must grow and go out and get into the daily life, a public faith. And faith becomes stronger when is public, especially – as in the last intervention-in times of crisis: “The Popes came here when there was crisis.” It must be so, I did not study it, but if you say so it must. There is a crisis of faith in the world, it’s true. But it is also true that there is a great blessing and a wish – expressed by you- of faith coming out, is a missionary faith, that faith is not engrossed, like a tin can. Our faith is not a faith from the church museum. Our faith is a faith that is born of contact, dialogue with Jesus Christ, our savior, with the Lord. Well, that faith has to go out, you must leave it at the workplace, you must leave on the understanding with others, that faith must be expressed in dialogue, understanding, forgiveness, handicrafts, daily fight for peace. Yes, faith in the street, if faith does not goes out, it does not work, and that faith out on the street does not mean just make a procession. That faith out on the street means that I in my workplace, my family, the things I do in college, at school, can show me as a Christian.
You have martyrs in your history, who have given their lives to go this route. Faith must be on street as Jesus. If I ask you: “Where Jesus spent more time in his life? In the house of his friends? On the street! preaching the gospel, witnessing. To you I say: “In public life, in family life, to the temple to pray, but then leave.” Our faith has to push us out and not be confined to our Jesus, and not let it out, because Jesus goes with us, if we do not go out, he does not not out. A renewed faith. Renew faith means make it “outgoing”, make it street, do not be afraid of conflict, but look solving family, school, social, economic conflicts. Faith has to be my inspiration to commit to my people, and that has its risks, has its dangers. I would like to conclude robbing words of the Mother and through me, she’s saying to you, ‘Do not be afraid to go out, do not be afraid son, my little one, Am I not here who am your Mother. ”