Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Francis Gives Another Interview And This One Is Just As Fascinating As His Others

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.  


  1. I seem to recall that Pope Francis has advisors he appointed who are in Opus Dei. I guess the appointment of his gang of 8 are those that are really like him, since he is not St. Francis at all. I get a terrible uneasiness, queasiness of this Pope now after reading this. I hate to use the phrase 'wolf in sheep's clothing" .... That is in essence what he is saying here. That he thinks like Opus Dei. That he does not really identify with St. Francis. Even Pope Francis admits that he "doesn't have his holiness."

    "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."

    Pope Francis is also making JPII a Saint. How can a Church leader name anyone as a Saint that has allowed in its leadership those who enable sexual abuse or commit such heinous acts?

    I have no other recourse to conclude that Pope Francis is dancing with the devils and elevating and enabling that dance, which just means only more abuse.

    Pope Francis also seems way too confortable around Opus Dei types and atheists and sure seems to want to stay clear of women in the Church, except to conjure up some separate theology for women.

  2. Pope Francis is just talking to the men and puts on a good show of a dialogue. The exclusion of women from that dialogue is so obvious. Even his answers are directed just to men.

  3. "The Church will never go beyond its task of expressing and disseminating its values, at least as long as I'm here."

    So are we to not be political, or be political? Like the Church was not political with its Centre Party in Germany in the early part of the 20th Century? Like the Church did not put Hitler into power? Like the Church is not political when its Bishops fire people based on their political views for a secular same-sex marriage?

    This Pope does not seem to be calling for any real reform at all. It is just more of the same old same old with a different name & spin with the same result. The same result being a Church stuck with an all-male priesthood.

    He says that the biggest problem now is young who are unemployed & they are not doing anything about it & then this Pope says that the Church is not political? He does not seem to be fully awake as to what is going on in the world and what does need to be going on for the common good.

    Just more nonsense going on in the Roman Catholic Church from a man who refuses to understand women and meet with them to discuss their concerns & the need for reform regarding a host of issues due to the misogyny in the Church. Pope Francis sounds more like ex-Pope Benedict more everyday.

  4. I'm beginning to think Franics might be the real deal. As to the confusion between being political and not being political, sometimes I think the translations garble his message. I had the same problem with some of Benedict's writings. I never felt they came across as precisely what he intended when translated to English.

    Having written that, I am not ecstatic with Francis' approach to women and have repeatedly stated that. I also think he's on a path where that question can not be avoided. Just as I think he is on a path where questions about the ontologically challenged priesthood can not be avoided. Both issues are intertwined. He has to deal with both of there's to be lasting reform.

  5. As I said in a comment on an NCR thread, I'd love to see an interview between Pope Francis and Sr Theresa Forcades. That I would actually pay to read.

  6. That is one of my qualms as well, there's too much OD around him and he exhibits too much OD media messaging. At this point I can't tell if that's because he really leans OD or is just using so much of their talk to keep them from going off the deep end. OD has a lot of power in the Vatican.

  7. Colleen, again my take is not at all so positive about this man. Misogyny is a big issue but there are other very big issues that are either discussed and changed or the RCC goes further toward cultism.

    The theology of the human body as purposed by JP II is from a man with little scientific understanding of biology but also a man that does not understand relationship. The "pelvic" theology is harmful to both sexes. The use of clericalism to attempt to control The People of God and its theoretical appeal to authority is untenable. The use of appointments without resume and lack of consultation with the People of God for the filling of Episcopal jobs has lead to arrogant and ignorant leaders. It causes the authority issue to become one of authoritarianism. There is no basis from Christ even for authority of a clerical group over the People of God. It is all delusion.

    The RCC ideas about divorce are ass backwards. When people are hurting from failure, particularly when there are children involved, the need for true help and psychological and spiritual guidance is great. instead the Church treats this group as sinners condemned to practice the deprivation of celibacy, and if they remarry refuses communion to them. Certain leaders of the community are forgiven and given easy annulments, but the annulment process is not an easy one. It is often not just and it takes too long for most cases. It is an attempt to control the sex life of the People of God by a hypocritical "celibate" group of mostly men who can not control their own sex lives very well. This is absolutely crazy.

    We have reached a time that people understand that in much of what the Church preaches as dogma to The People of God is really clerical attempts to prove their own authority and keep their own houses of cards from crumbling. Well without radical and broad based changes now, the RCC continues into the realm of cultism.

    This is an institution that many of us once loved that falsely claims infallibility so that it does not need to change and learn from mistakes. It fails to learn from experience and can not be listening to the inner voices for change what in Church metaphor would be the Holy Spirit. Can there be any greater sin than an institution that refuses to listen to Her? Finally when this is pointed out the clerical leaders have the arrogance to tell others that they are listening to a spirit of another kind. My own feelings is that the RCC went too far in the 1800rds when it allowed a deranged Pope Pius IX to essentially declare himself infallible. Now almost every Bishop wants to believe he is a key part of an infallible magisterium---- that he alone is the teacher of his diocese. By what magic (magical hysteria (magichysterium without a uterus) What a sham. The People of God (otherwise known as the simple laity) will not and are not putting up with this very poor leadership. I think Francis has little time to show he is truly different. I am not sure he really is the real deal that will make any difference at all. The Bishops and, I believe even this Pope, have very little respect in the minds of thinking catholic people and this reflects on to those who have blind faith in this institution as well. The house of cards is slowly and painfully crashing and the Mind Set of Francis will do little to stop this or begin the needed repairs.

    Perhaps I am wrong, but I see no real indication that the few productive years this pope may have are going to be spent causing any meaningful changes. Just more of the same with a different lingo. dennis

  8. It is hard to see how Francis gets from 'not just top-down but horizontal as well' if the advisory council consists of members thinking like he does and ALSO have reputations as the very definition of top-down.

    Elsewhere in the interview he seems to be saying he knows that politics are inside the Church structure but we should simply ignore that in favor of doing the more charitable Gospel-based work of God. But you know, Jesus did not ignore the money-changers in favor of providing the poor with the resources they need to obtain their daily bread and other material needs. It is a classic excuse - the church is also made up of human beings who are fallible and so we should just ignore the evil that they do and accept the church as perfect in doctrine and in need of adjustment in mission. Not seeing where we go with the abuse problem in this mindset. Binding up the wounds without addressing the abuse is not going to solve the problem.

  9. If the abuse is not addressed, the wounds will continue to rage on, inflamed, infected and in dire need of healing.

  10. Veronica I sat through a really long staff meeting today in which our new head honcho really sounded like Francis. Really did the 'both and shuffle' until all of us were absolutely confused as to what she wanted or intended or whatever. Finally, on a break, I said "I think she is going to let us do whatever the staff thinks will work in the various residences and the client outcomes will determine the winner."

    I expect more both/and shuffle and Francis will move in the direction of the best outcomes. I don't think the best outcomes lie in the rule/exclusion direction. They lie in the compassion/inclusion direction. I guess I'm betting on that outcome in most of my life. It's a bet I'm not afraid to take---and to raise.

  11. Yes, and that abuse is on multiple levels with multiple parts of the laity. Spiritual abuse is just as soul destroying and physical and sexual.

  12. To which "deal" are we referring to as "real" here? Certainly Bergoglio is not one of the "functional aetheist careerists" who are crowding the Vatican of late, but I think his impact on anything outside of the RC sphere is being greatly overestimated. This exaggeration of self-estimation is precisely what led to Ratzinger's downfall and and (there is a God) resignation.

    In my opinion, the RCC's descent into cultism is well underway. People keep flailing around talking about "how to save the church", but outside, in the greater reality, few people are really perceiving the RCC or even Christianity as really relevant. It looks to me that it is becoming more and more clear that there is no one true religion and that freedom of religion should and does mean exactly that.

    As far as I'm concerned, let Catholicism's influence contract. It will more than likely endure, but it is and will be one of many paths to the same goal. Maybe Ratzinger's ideas regarding "The Shining City on the Hill" is that Jesus only died for some is exactly the viewpoint to be adopted. After all, what really matters is the personal relationship that one cultivates with one's own conception of the Godhead. Priests, Holy Scriptures, Baptist preachers, Bishops, Popes, et. al. only succeed in diverting the people of God from the realization of God. Of course, they can be helpful guides, but the work is ours to do.

    In my opinion, Bergoglio is window dressing, pure and simple; mere lipstick for this pig of a hierarchy that reflects none of the teachings of the Godhead you worship. Screw the Hierarchy! Choose God!

  13. I think the marriage situation you describe is going to be the first of the doctrinal changes. There will be the allowance for second sacramental marriages very much like in the Orthodox churches. One reason I think this will be the first doctrinal change is that it's almost necessary for the second one which might come about, and that's a married priesthood. I see the first as very very likely and the second as most likely--eventually.

  14. No-stay home and save your money, time and trouble.
    Religion is makeup on pigs to begin with.
    Waste of your lives.

  15. And who's going to determine what "Spiritual abuse" is?
    Another Curia, but this time it will be a "Good Curia" because it'll have nuns in it and what's more, nuns who agree with you?