Pope Francis opens – Where is Peter
Saying it was only a month ago that Francis’ announcement of a consistory in August and his need to use a wheelchair due to a knee injury fueled rumors that Pope Francis was planning to to retire very soon. Over the past few days, however, we have seen the release of two interviews and a podcast with Pope Francis, and in addition to making it clear that he has no plans to quit for the foreseeable future, he has made newsworthy statements and shared his thoughts and wisdom on various topics worth discussing.
Below are the links and some key quotes.
He first led an interview with the Argentinian news agency Télam which was released on July 1. The lengthy interview touched on a wide range of issues regarding the Church and reflections on his pontificate.
“When I say that we never come out of a crisis as before, it’s because the crisis necessarily changes us. Even more, crises are moments in life when we take a step forward. There’s the crisis of adolescence, the crisis of coming of age, the crisis of midlife. A crisis makes you move, makes you dance. We have to learn to take responsibility, because if we don’t , they become a conflict. And the conflict is a closed thing, the conflict seeks the answer in itself, it destroys itself. On the contrary, a crisis is necessarily open, it makes you grow. One of the most serious things in life is knowing how to get through a crisis, without bitterness.
On the dialogue between generations
“We need to restore the dialogue between the young and the old. Young people need to engage with their roots and older people need to feel that they are leaving a legacy behind. When young people spend time with their grandparents, they receive sap, they receive things to carry forward. And when the elderly spend time with their grandchildren, they regain hope. There is a verse in a poem by Bernárdez, I don’t remember which one, which says: “What the tree has in bloom feeds on what is buried”. He does not say “the flowers come from the basement”. No, the flowers are up there. But the dialogue between them, which we draw from our roots and pursue, is the true meaning of tradition.
Tradition versus traditionalism
“There is a quote from the composer Gustav Mahler that struck me: “Tradition is the guarantee of the future”. It’s not a museum piece. It is what gives us life, as long as it makes you grow. Going back is something else: it is unhealthy conservatism. “It’s always been done that way, so I won’t take a step forward,” they say. This subject perhaps deserves more explanation, but I stick to the essentials: the dialogue between young and old being the true meaning of tradition. This is not traditionalism. It is the tradition that makes you grow, it is the guarantee of the future.
“I believe it is time to rethink the concept of ‘just war’. A war can be just, there is the right to defend oneself. But we need to rethink how this concept is used today. I said that the use and possession of nuclear weapons is immoral. Resolving conflicts through war means saying no to verbal reasoning, to being constructive. Verbal reasoning is very important. Now I am referring to our daily behavior. When you talk to some people, they cut you off before you’re done. We don’t know how to listen to each other. We don’t let people finish what they say. We must listen. Receive what they have to say. We declare war in advance, that is to say, we stop talking. War is essentially a lack of dialogue.
On his accomplishments as pope
“Whatever I did was neither my invention nor a dream I had after a night of indigestion. the things that we thought the new pope should do. Then we talked about the things that needed to be changed, the problems that needed to be fixed. Then I carried out the things that were asked of me. I don’t think he there was anything original on my part. I set in motion what we had all asked for. For example, the reform of the curia culminated in the new Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium”, which ” after eight and a half years of work and investigation” succeeded in including what the cardinals had asked for, changes already underway. Nowadays it is a missionary-style experience. “Praedicate Evangelium” is that is to say “be a missionary.” Preach the word of God This means that the main thing is to go out.
He had an interview with Reuters Vatican correspondent Philip Pullella, which is published in installments, four of which have been released:
On his health
When asked how he was, the pope joked, “I’m still alive!”
He gave details of his ailment for the first time in public, saying he suffered “a small fracture” in his knee when he misstepped while a ligament was inflamed.
“I’m fine, slowly getting better,” he said, adding that the fracture was knitting together, aided by laser and magnet therapy.
Francis also dismissed rumors that cancer was discovered a year ago when he underwent a six-hour operation to remove part of his colon due to diverticulitis, a common condition among older people.
“It (the operation) was a great success,” he said, adding with a laugh that “they didn’t tell me anything” about the alleged cancer, which he called “the gossip of the court”.
But he said he didn’t want knee surgery because the general anesthetic from last year’s operation had had negative side effects.
On abortion, Dobbs and Pelosi
Asked about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade establishing a woman’s right to have an abortion, Francis said he respects the decision but does not have enough information to speak to it from a legal standpoint. Read more
But he strongly condemned abortion, likening it to “hiring a hitman”. The Catholic Church teaches that life begins at conception.
“I ask: is it legitimate, is it fair to eliminate a human life to solve a problem?
Francis was asked about a debate in the United States over whether a Catholic politician who is personally opposed to abortion but supports the right of others to choose should be allowed to receive the sacrament of communion.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, for example, was barred by the conservative archbishop of her native diocese of San Francisco from receiving him there, but regularly receives communion at a parish in Washington, D.C. Last week she received the sacrament at a Pontifical Mass at the Vatican. Read more
“When the Church loses its pastoral nature, when a bishop loses his pastoral nature, that poses a political problem,” the pope said. “That’s all I can say.”
On the deal with China
Comparing the current situation to the pre-1989 era, Francis said his appointment of bishops in China since 2018 “is going slowly, but they are being appointed.”
Only six new bishops have been appointed since the agreement, which, according to its opponents, proves that it does not produce the expected effects. Additionally, the agreement regularized the position of seven bishops who had been ordained before 2018 without Vatican approval.
The pope called the slow process “the Chinese way,” because the Chinese have this sense of time that no one can rush them.”
On women in the curia
“Two women will be appointed for the first time to the committee responsible for electing bishops to the Congregation for Bishops,” he said.
This decision, which has not been officially announced, is very significant because for the first time women will have a say in the appointment of the bishops of the world, who are all men.
“That way things open up a bit,” he said.
On the Vatican Financial Scandal and Cardinal Pell
He blamed “structure irresponsibility” for past financial scandals, saying the money administration “was not mature”.
In the interview, Francis hailed Australian Cardinal George Pell as “the genius” who insisted the Vatican needed a global economy ministry to control money flows and fight corruption. .
Pell served as the first head of the Secretariat for the Economy, receiving a mandate from the Pope to clean up the Vatican’s troubled finances.
Pell, now 81, quit the job in 2018 to face sex abuse charges dating back decades in Australia. He spent 13 months in solitary confinement before being cleared of all charges on appeal in 2020.
On the abuse crisis
“We have to fight every case,” he said. “As a priest, I have to help people grow and save them. If I abuse, I kill them. It’s awful. Zero tolerance,” he said.
The Argentinian Podcast
Vatican News reported that Francis participated in a conversation recorded for a podcast titled “Marcó tu semana, from the TV to the redesproduced by Argentine priest Guillermo Marcó, who ran the press office of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires when Francis was archbishop. They mostly talked about personal matters in this 22-minute show.
The two times he tried to sneak out of the Vatican unnoticed
“Back in Buenos Aires, I walked or took the bus, etc. Here, the two times I had to go out, I was caught red-handed. Twice, in winter. Seven o’clock in the evening when nothing happened, everything was dark… When I went to the optician, a lady from the balcony (shouted) ‘The Pope’ and it was over. And when I went to the empty record store – I went to bless it because it was a friend’s record store that had been restructured… (…) So bad luck there was just a taxi stand nearby, with a journalist waiting”.
On old age
Finally, reflecting on the cycle of catechesis on the elderly that Pope Francis began on February 23 during the general audiences, Father Marcó wanted to know how the Pope faces this stage of his life: “At this age, I don’t care me and I move on. ,” he said.
Editor’s note (July 8): Updated to add a link and quote from part 5 of the Reuters interview.