|This new interview has some interesting observations from Francis about this clean up problem.|
Another interview with Pope Francis has just been published in the Italian publication la Republicca. It too is going to be parsed and reparsed. The interview was conducted by Italian writer and aetheist Eugenio Scalfari. It came about as an extension of the exchange of letters between the two men earlier in the year. It was conducted in Pope Francis' apartment at Doma Santa Martha. The following is an excerpt. The interview is much longer and of course, it's well worth reading the whole interview. I'm sure it's publication at this particular time will give Francis' Gang of 8 some food for thought. (Scalfari's questions are in bold.)
Jesus, as you pointed out, said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Do you think that this has happened?"Unfortunately, no. Selfishness has increased and love towards others declined."
So this is the goal that we have in common: at least to equalize the intensity of these two kinds of love. Is your Church ready and equipped to carry out this task?"What do you think?"
I think love for temporal power is still very strong within the Vatican Walls and in the institutional structure of the whole Church. I think that the institution dominates the poor, missionary Church that you would like."In fact, that is the way it is, and in this area you cannot perform miracles. Let me remind you that even Francis in his time held long negotiations with the Roman hierarchy and the Pope to have the rules of his order recognized. Eventually he got the approval but with profound changes and compromises."
Will you have to follow the same path?"I'm not Francis of Assisi and I do not have his strength and his holiness. But I am the Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic world. The first thing I decided was to appoint a group of eight cardinals to be my advisers. Not courtiers but wise people who share my own feelings. This is the beginning of a Church with an organization that is not just top-down but also horizontal. When Cardinal Martini talked about focusing on the councils and synods he knew how long and difficult it would be to go in that direction. Gently, but firmly and tenaciously."
And politics?"Why do you ask? I have already said that the Church will not deal with politics."
But just a few days ago you appealed to Catholics to engage civilly and politically."I was not addressing only Catholics but all men of good will. I say that politics is the most important of the civil activities and has its own field of action, which is not that of religion. Political institutions are secular by definition and operate in independent spheres. All my predecessors have said the same thing, for many years at least, albeit with different accents. I believe that Catholics involved in politics carry the values of their religion within them, but have the mature awareness and expertise to implement them. The Church will never go beyond its task of expressing and disseminating its values, at least as long as I'm here."
But that has not always being the case with the Church."It has almost never been the case. Often the Church as an institution has been dominated by temporalism and many members and senior Catholic leaders still feel this way.
But now let me ask you a question: you, a secular non-believer in God, what do you believe in? You are a writer and a man of thought. You believe in something, you must have a dominant value. Don't answer me with words like honesty, seeking, the vision of the common good, all important principles and values but that is not what I am asking. I am asking what you think is the essence of the world, indeed the universe. You must ask yourself, of course, like everyone else, who we are, where we come from, where we are going. Even children ask themselves these questions. And you?"
I want to give kudos to Terry Weldon at Queering the Church for bring this to my attention. Unfortunately for me, I have to go to work and can not comment on this piece as I would wont, but I did want to get this interview posted for the benefit of my readers who are more than welcome to comment. If I can put up with the touch screen on my Tablet I may add more to this post from work.