The Pope’s interview with the Echo of Bergamo for the arrival in the city of John XXIII’s body: “the Church’s task is not to change governments, but to bring the logic of the Gospel into the thinking and actions of rulers”
Pubblicato il 24/05/2018
Ultima modifica il 24/05/2018 alle ore 15:54
“It may be on the lips of many, but that equation is a foolish lie. This is how Pope Francis defined the equation that many make between Muslims and terrorists. He did so in the extensive interview with the director of the Echo of Bergamo newspaper, published today 24 May 2018, on the occasion of the arrival in the city of the urn with the remains of Saint John XXIII, who thus returns for the first time to his land. The most important role of religions, Bergoglio said, “is that of promoting the culture of encounter, along with the promotion of true education in responsible behavior in caring for creation”.
Francis recalled the “Good Pope”, whom he canonized, defining him as “a man, a saint who did not know the word “enemy “, and added that he was “aware of the Church’s call to serve all men and women and not only Catholics; to defend first and foremost the rights of the human person and not only those of the Catholic Church. aware that the Pope must build bridges...”.
In the interview, the Pope spoke again about immigration. “True “welcome” can only be totally disinterested, that which costs sacrifices. The international situation is complex, as we know, but in any case, I am convinced that walls are raised out of fear, to not see the suffering of our brothers and sisters that can be disturbing, wall that are raised to protect what should instead be shared”.
“Raising a wall - the Pontiff continued - is closing one’s heart, sealing it like a tomb. This is not about generosity, nor solidarity. There is so much work to do, we need to create a new culture, a new mentality, educate the new generations to think, to think of themselves as a single human family, a community without boundaries.
Francis also answered questions about work and unemployment, explaining that “A true work culture does not mean only knowing how to produce, but relating to sustainable consumption models. Are we selling out work for consumption? In this way, along with work - he explained - we will also sell out all its sister-words: dignity, respect, honor and freedom”.
Already now, according to Bergoglio, “youth unemployment is a social sin, and society is responsible for it. The Church is doing what she can”. Certainly “more can be done” because “society, like the Church needs young people”; that is why it was decided to convene a Synod of young people which, the Pope hoped, “must be a great exercise of ecclesial listening: listening to young people’s stories. To understand also how to renew ourselves as a Church in being close to them without pretending that nothing has changed for generations and generations...”.
On a global level, the Pontiff added, “I am concerned about the imbalances that are always linked to reckless exploitation: of people and of natures’ resources. Yet the Church’s true task is not to change governments, but to bring the logic of the Gospel into the thinking and actions of those who govern”. Meaningful words to understand the attitude of the Holy See towards governments in the world. Words that echo those spoken in a dialogue with Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, then Archbishop of Havana, in Cuba. The conversation had taken place some months before the resignation of Pope Ratzinger, who pointed out to the Cuban cardinal the way of dialogue, calling it “the only way”. And he added: “The Church is not in the world to change governments, but to transform with the Gospel the hearts of people, and these people will change the world according to what providence will dispose”.
On the theme of peace Francis explained that it “should not be linked to the absence of war, but rather to the integral development of individuals and peoples; it should be understood that the commitment of social groups and states is to live relationships of justice and solidarity that cannot be just words”. It is, in essence, John XXIII’s message of Pacem in terris , and that is that “there is no harmony, no true order if we do not work for a more just , more united society. And this - Bergoglio underlined- requires everyone to overcome all forms of selfishness, individualism and group interest, at all levels”.
The interview does not lack answers dedicated to fake news and on journalists’ commitment to defend truth. “It is always up to people with their free responsibility who can turn words, communication, into a place of understanding and encounter or of opposition and fratricidal war. It happens that those who yield to their own pride and selfishness can also distort the use of their ability to communicate, and deceive or manipulate the reader, in a sneaky, untrue way” Pope Francis said citing his message for the World Day of Social Communications.
All this can cause a “barbarization of society”. And “also in the Church - added the Pope - “Even in the Church - Francis said - when we do not live the logic of communion but that of corporations, it can happen that we undertake real strategies of war against someone to gain power, which sometimes is expressed in economic terms, sometimes in terms of roles. That is why people, not strategies, are the antidote to falsehoods. I am talking about people who are ready to listen, ready to struggle to understand and dialogue, who do not have division and resentment in their hearts, who know how to use the media responsibly, capable of great visions”.
“I realize that it is not easy - he said - because there are always those who look backwards instead of forwards, such as those pastors who are afraid of taking up the new challenges posed to the Church, those whom Pope John called “prophets of doom””.
Asked finally about the future of Christianity in the West, the Pope admitted that they are more “reasons for anxiety” than “reasons for hope”, and that “the absolute identification of Christianity with Western culture no longer makes sense. The so-called post-modern condition, the last or almost final stage of the Western journey, recalls a bit the idea of a journey that ended with a shipwreck, with the shipwrecked people trying to build a raft”.
“I believe - concluded Bergoglio – that thinkers and theologians - who say that future Christianity will either be more concretely Catholic, universal, fully ecclesial, respectful of cultures, Africa, Asia, Latin America or risk irrelevance with regard to the proposal of the Gospel and the salvation of the world – are not wrong. I believe they are not wrong when they say that there must be more and more primacy of charity, a commitment to justice, to peace, or there won’t be any”.