War, Vatican II, decision-making: the pope explains
By Cindy Wood
Catholic Press Service
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has given the editors of 10 Jesuit magazines insight into how he makes decisions, information on one of his most controversial comments on the war in Ukraine and insight into what which he sees as the refusal of some bishops to accept the teaching of the Second Vatican Council.
Meeting in May with the editors of European magazines, the pope answered six questions about his concerns for the Catholic Church and the world. The magazines published a transcript of their conversation on June 14.
Two weeks before meeting the editors, Pope Francis had created an uproar when an Italian newspaper quoted him as wondering if Russian President Vladimir Putin had launched his war against Ukraine because he felt ” NATO is barking at Russia’s door”. Many media outlets concluded that the pope believed NATO was at least partly responsible for the war.
Pope Francis told editors the quote came from a head of state who surrendered “a few months before the war”.
“He told me he was very concerned about how NATO was developing. I asked him why, and he replied: “They bark at the gates of Russia. They do not understand that the Russians are imperialists and will not allow any foreign power to approach them. He concluded: “The situation could lead to war. It was his opinion,” the pope said. “This head of state could read the signs of what was happening.”
To understand what’s going on and stop the war, he said, “we have to get away from the normal ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ pattern – Little Red Riding Hood was good and the wolf was the bad guy. There are no metaphysical good guys and bad guys here, in an abstract sense. Something global is emerging, with very intertwined elements.
“Someone can tell me at that time: So you are pro-Putin! No, I am not,” the pope said. “It would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing. I am simply against reducing the complexity to the distinction between good and bad without reasoning about roots and interests, which are very complex. As we see the ferocity, the cruelty of the Russian troops, we must not forget the real problems if we want them to be solved.
Against this cruelty, he said, the world has witnessed “the heroism of the Ukrainian people”, but everyone must remember that “what is before our eyes is a situation of world war, of global interests, arms sales and geopolitical appropriation, which is martyrdom”. a heroic people.
Pope Francis added that while he and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, who supports Putin, have canceled a meeting in Lebanon scheduled for mid-June, he hopes to meet the patriarch at the World Congress of Leaders of World Religions and traditional in Kazakhstan in September. 14-15 and “talk a little with him as a pastor”.
A significant part of the pope’s discussion with Jesuit editors focused on signs of new life in the Catholic Church and signs that some people are stuck in the distant past.
“The council that some pastors remember best is that of Trent” in the 1500s, the pope said, adding that he was not kidding. “What I say is not nonsense.”
“Restorationism came to gag the Council (Vatican II),” he said. “The number of groups of ‘restorers’ – for example, in the United States there are many – is significant” and shows how the teaching and reform of Vatican II “has not yet been accepted”.
The struggles to accept the council and to live the faith concretely, in new and creative ways, have been evident for decades, the pope said, illustrating his point by speaking of what he observed within the Society of Jesus in the 1970s when Jesuit Father Pedro Arrupe was superior general.
“A Jesuit from the province of Loyola (in Spain) was particularly aggressive towards Father Arrupe. He was sent to various places and even to Argentina, and always caused problems,” the pope said. “He said to me one day: ‘You are someone who does not understand anything. But the real culprits are Father Arrupe and Father (Jean-Yves) Calvez. The happiest day of my life will be when I see them hanged from the gallows in St. Peter’s Square.
“Why am I telling you this story? continues the pope. “To make you understand what the post-conciliar period was like. It happens again, especially with traditionalists. This is why it is important to save these personalities who defended the council and fidelity to the pope.
But, said the pope, all is not well.
Jesuit Father Stefan Kiechle, editor of the German newspaper Stimmen der Zeit, asked about the pope’s view of the German synodal path, which some critics say would turn the church into a Protestant denomination.
Pope Francis said he told Archbishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German Episcopal Conference: “In Germany there is a very good Evangelical Church. We don’t need two.
“The problem arises when the synodal path comes from intellectual and theological elites and is heavily influenced by outside pressures,” the pope said. However, he also acknowledged “that there are dioceses where the synodal way is developing with the faithful, with the people, slowly.”
Fr Kiechle also asked about continuing tensions over the handling of abuse cases and finances in the Archdiocese of Cologne and its head, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki.
“When the situation was very rough, I asked the Archbishop to leave for six months, so that things would calm down and I could see clearly. Because when the waters are rough, you cannot see clearly,” the pope said. When the cardinal returned to the archdiocese in early March, “I asked him to write a letter of resignation,” but left him in office seeing how the situation was developing.
“What happens is that there are a lot of pressure groups, and under pressure it is not possible to discern,” Pope Francis said. “To be able to discern, I wait until there is no more pressure. The fact that there are different points of view is good. The problem is when there is pressure. It doesn’t help.