APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO RIO DE JANEIRO
ON THE OCCASION OF THE XXVIII WORLD YOUTH DAY
CONFERENCE OF POPE FRANCIS
DURING THE RETURN FLIGHT
Sunday, 28 July 2013
Now, my friends, we are delighted to have the Holy Father, Pope Francis, with us
on this return flight. He has been good enough to allow plenty of time to
review the visit with us and to respond in complete freedom to your questions.
I shall ask him to give us a brief introduction and then we will begin with the
list of those who have asked to speak, and we will take them from different
national groups and language groups. So, over to you, Your Holiness, for your
words of introduction.
Good evening, and thank you very much. I am pleased. It has been a good
journey, spiritually it has done me good. I am quite tired, but my heart is
joyful, and I am well, really well: this has done me good spiritually. Meeting
people does me good, because the Lord works in each one of us, he works in our
hearts, and the Lord’s riches are so great that we can always receive many
wonderful things from others. And this does me good. So that is my first
reflection. Then, I would say that the goodness, the hearts of the Brazilian
people, are big, really big. They are a very lovable people, a people who like
to celebrate, who even amid suffering always find a path to seek out the good
somewhere. And this is good: they are lively people, and they have suffered
greatly! The liveliness of the Brazilians is contagious, it really is! And
these people have big hearts. Then, I would say of the organizers, both at our
end and those at the Brazilian end, well! I felt as if I was sitting in front of
a computer, an incarnate computer ... no, really! Everything was timed so well,
wasn’t it? It was wonderful. Then, we had problems with the plans for
security: security here, security there; there wasn’t a single accident in the
whole of Rio de Janeiro during these days, and everything was spontaneous. With
less security, I could have been with the people, I could have embraced them,
greeted them, without armoured cars ... there is security in trusting a people.
It is true that there is always the danger of some mad person .. the danger that
some mad person will do something, but then there is the Lord! But to make an
armed space between the bishop and the people is madness, and I prefer the other
madness: away with it! And run the risk of the other madness! I prefer this
madness: away with it! Closeness is good for us all.
Then, the organization of WYD, not any particular aspect, but overall:
the artistic element, the religious element, the catechetical element, the
liturgical element .. it was all wonderful! They have the capacity to express
themselves in art. Yesterday, for example, they did really lovely things,
really lovely! Then, Aparecida: Aparecida for me was a powerful religious
experience. I remember the Fifth Conference, I went there to pray, to pray. I
wanted to go alone, somewhat hidden, but there was an impressive crowd! But it
is not possible, as I knew before I arrived. And we prayed. I don’t know ...
one thing ... but on your part as well, your work, they tell me – I didn’t read
the newspapers during these days, I didn’t have time, I didn’t see the
television, nothing – but they tell me that good work was done, really good
work. Thank you, thank you for your collaboration, thank you for doing all
this. Then the number, the number of young people. Today – I can hardly
believe it – but today, the Governor spoke of three million. I cannot believe
it. But from the altar – it’s true! I don’t know whether you, or some of you,
were at the altar. From the altar, at the end of Mass, the whole beach was
full, as far as the curve; more than four kilometres. There were so many young
people. And they say, Archbishop Tempesta said, they came from 178 countries:
178! The Vice-President gave me the same figure, so it’s certain. It is
Thank you. Now we invite Juan de Lara to speak first, from Efe, he is
Spanish, and it is the last journey he will make with us. So we are pleased to
give him this opportunity.
Juan de Lara:
Your Holiness, good evening. On behalf of all our colleagues, we want to thank
you for these days that you have given us in Rio de Janeiro, for the work that
you have done and the effort you have made. And also, on behalf of all the
Spanish journalists, we want to thank you for your prayers for the victims of
the train accident in Santiago de Compostela. Thank you very much indeed. The
first question does not have much to do with the journey, but we take the
opportunity that this occasion gives us, and I would like to ask you: Your
Holiness, in these four months of pontificate, we see that you have created
various commissions to reform the Curia. I want to ask you: what kind of reform
do you have in mind, do you foresee the possibility of suppressing the IOR, the
so-called Vatican Bank? Thank you.
The steps I have taken during these four and a half months come from two
sources: the content of what had to be done, all of it, comes from the General
Congregations of the Cardinals. There were certain things that we Cardinals
asked of the one who was to be the new Pope. I remember that I asked for many
things, thinking that it would be someone else... We asked, for example, for
the Commission of eight Cardinals, we know that it is important to have an
outside body of consultors, not the consultation bodies that already exist, but
one on the outside. This is entirely in keeping – here I am making a mental
abstraction, but it’s the way I try to explain it – in keeping with the maturing
of the relationship between synodality and primacy. In other words, having
these eight Cardinals will favour synodality, they will help the various
episcopates of the world to express themselves in the very government of the
Church. There were many proposals made that have yet to be implemented, such as
the reform of the Secretariat of the Synod and its methodology; the Post-Synodal
commission, which would have a permanent consultative character; the
consistories of Cardinals with less formal agendas, canonization, for example,
but also other items, etc. So the source of the content is to be found there!
The second source has to do with present circumstances. I admit that it was no
great effort for me, during the first month of the pontificate, to organize the
Commission of the eight Cardinals, which is an initial step. The financial part
I was planning to address next year, because it is not the most important thing
that needed to be done. But the agenda changed on account of circumstances that
you know about, that are in the public domain. Problems arose that had to be
dealt with. The first is the problem of the IOR, that is to say, how to manage
it, how to conceptualize it, how to reformulate it, how to put right what needs
to be put right, hence the first Commission of Reference, as it is called. You
are familiar with the chirograph, what the aims are, who the members are, etc.
Then we had the meeting of the Commission of 15 Cardinals who follow the
economic affairs of the Holy See. They come from all over the world. And then,
while we were preparing for this meeting, we saw the need to make a single
Commission of Reference for the whole economy of the Holy See. That is to say,
the economic problem was not on the agenda when it had to be addressed, but
these things happen when you’re in governance: you try to go in one direction,
but then someone throws you a ball from another direction, and you have to bat
it back. Isn’t that the way it is? So, life is like that, but this too is part
of the wonder of life. I repeat the question that you asked me about the IOR,
excuse me, I’m speaking Spanish. Excuse me, the answer came to me in Spanish.
Returning to the question you asked about the IOR, I don’t know how the IOR will
end up. Some say perhaps it would be better as a bank, others say it should be
an aid fund, others say it should be shut down. Well! That’s what people are
saying. I don’t know. I trust the work done by the IOR personnel, who are
working on this, and the Commission personnel too. The President of the IOR is
staying, the same one as before, whereas the Director and Vice-Director have
resigned. But I don’t know how all this is going to end up, and that’s fine,
because we keep looking and we will come up with something. We are human in all
this. We must find the best solution, no doubt about that. But the hallmarks
of the IOR – whether it be a bank, an aid fund, or whatever else – have to be
transparency and honesty, they have to be. Thank you.
Many thanks, Your Holiness. So, now we move on to a person from the
representatives of the Italian group, and we have someone you know well: Andrea
Tornielli, who is going to ask you a question on behalf of the Italian group.
Holy Father, I want to ask something perhaps a little indiscreet: there was a
photograph that went all over the world when we set off, of you climbing the
steps of the aeroplane carrying a black brief-case, and there have been articles
all over the world commenting on this new departure. Yes, about the Pope
climbing the steps – let’s say it had never happened before that the Pope should
climb on board with his own hand-luggage. So, there have been various
suggestions about what the black bag contained. So my questions are these:
firstly, why was it you carrying the black bag, and not one of your entourage,
and secondly, could you tell us what was in it? Thank you.
It wasn’t the key for the atom bomb! Well! I was carrying it because that’s
what I’ve always done. When I travel, I carry it. And inside, what was there?
There was a razor, a breviary, an appointment book, a book to read, I brought
one about Saint Thérèse, to whom I have a devotion. I have always taken a bag
with me when travelling – it’s normal. But we must be normal ... I don’t know
... what you say is a bit strange for me, that the photograph went all over the
world. But we must get used to being normal. The normality of life. I don’t
know, Andrea, whether I have answered your question.
Now we will invite a representative of the Portuguese language to speak, Aura
Miguel, who is from Radio Renascença:
Your Holiness, I want to ask why you ask so insistently that people pray for
you? It isn’t normal, we’re not used to hearing a Pope ask so often that people
pray for him...
I have always asked this. When I was a priest, I asked it, but less
frequently. I began to ask with greater frequency while I was working as a
bishop, because I sense that if the Lord does not help in this work of assisting
the People of God to go forward, it can’t be done. I am truly conscious of my
many limitations, with so many problems, and I a sinner – as you know! – and I
have to ask for this. But it comes from within! I ask Our Lady too to pray to
the Lord for me. It is a habit, but a habit that comes from my heart and also a
real need in terms of my work. I feel I have to ask ... I don’t know, that’s
the way it is ...
Now we pass to the English language group, and we invite our colleague Mr
Pullella from Reuters, here in front, to speak.
Your Holiness, thank you, on behalf of the English group, for making yourself
available. Our colleague de Lara has already put the question that we wanted to
ask, so I will continue just a little further along the same lines: When you
were seeking to make these changes, I remember you said to the group from Latin
America that there are many saints working in the Vatican, but also people who
are rather less saintly, didn’t you? Have you encountered resistance to your
wish to change things in the Vatican? Have you met with resistance? The second
question is this: you live in a very austere manner, you have remained at
Santa Marta, and so on... Would you like your collaborators, including the
Cardinals, to follow this example, and perhaps to live in community, or is this
something for you alone?
The changes ... the changes also come from two sources: what we Cardinals asked
for, and what has to do with my own personality. You mentioned the fact that I
remained at Santa Marta. But I could not live alone in the Palace, and
it is not luxurious. The Papal apartment is not particularly luxurious! It is
a fair size, but it is not luxurious. But I cannot live alone or with just a
few people! I need people, I need to meet people, to talk to people. And
that’s why when the children from the Jesuit schools asked me: “Why did you do
that? For austerity, for poverty?” No, it was for psychological reasons,
simply, because psychologically I can’t do otherwise. Everyone has to lead his
own life, everyone has his own way of living and being. The Cardinals who work
in the Curia do not live wealthy, opulent lives: they live in small apartments,
they are austere, they really are, austere. The ones I know, the apartments
that APSA provides for the Cardinals. Then it seems to me that there is
something else I wanted to say. Everyone has to live as the Lord asks him to
live. But austerity – general austerity – I think it is necessary for all of us
who work in the service of the Church. There are many shades of austerity ..
everyone must seek his own path. With regard to the saints, it’s true, there
are saints: cardinals, priests, bishops, sisters, laypersons; people who pray,
people who work hard, and who also help the poor, in hidden ways. I know of
some who take trouble to give food to the poor, and then, in their free time, go
to minister in this or that church. They are priests. There are saints in the
Curia. And there are some who are not so saintly, and these are the ones you
tend to hear about. You know that one tree falling makes more noise than a
whole forest growing. And it pains me when these things happen. But there are
some who create scandal, some. We have this Monsignor in prison, I think he is
still in prison. He didn’t exactly go to prison because he was like Blessed
Imelda, he was no saint. These are scandals, and they do harm. One thing –
I’ve never said this before, but I have come to realize it – I think that the
Curia has fallen somewhat from the level it once had, in the days of the old
curialists ... the profile of the old curialist, faithful, doing his work. We
need these people. I think ... there are some, but not as many as there once
were. The profile of the old curialist: I would say that. We need more of
them. Do I encounter resistance! Well! If there is resistance, I haven’t seen
it yet. It’s true that I haven’t done much, but I would say that I have found
help, and I have found loyal people. For example, I like it when people say to
me: “I don’t agree”, and I have found this. “But I don’t see that, I disagree:
that’s what I think, you do as you wish.” This is a real collaborator. And I
have found people like this in the Curia. And this is good. But when there are
those who say: “Oh, how wonderful, how wonderful, how wonderful”, and then they
say the opposite somewhere else... I have yet to come across this. Maybe it
happens, maybe there are some like this, but I’m not aware of them..
Resistance: in four months, you won’t find that much.
Well, now we pass to a Brazilian lady, as seems only right. So here is Patricia
Zorzan, and perhaps Mr Izoard could come forward, so that we can have a French
Speaking on behalf of the Brazilians: society has changed, young people have
changed, and in Brazil we have seen a great many young people. You did not
speak about abortion, about same-sex marriage. In Brazil a law has been
approved which widens the right to abortion and permits marriage between people
of the same sex. Why did you not speak about this?
The Church has already spoken quite clearly on this. It was unnecessary to
return to it, just as I didn’t speak about cheating, lying, or other matters on
which the Church has a clear teaching!
But the young are interested in this ...
Yes, though it wasn’t necessary to speak of it, but rather of the positive
things that open up the path to young people. Isn’t that right! Besides, young
people know perfectly well what the Church’s position is.
What is Your Holiness’ position, if we may ask?
The position of the Church. I am a son of the Church.
Well, now let’s return to the Spanish group, Dario Menor Torres ..., oh, excuse
me, Mr Izoard, whom we have already called forward, so that we have someone from
the French group – and then Dario Menor.
Greetings, Your Holiness, on behalf of my francophone colleagues on board –
there are nine of us on this flight – for a Pope who does not want to give
interviews, we are truly grateful to you. Ever since 13 March, you have
presented yourself as the Bishop of Rome, with great, very great insistence.
So, we would like to understand the deep significance of this insistence,
whether perhaps, rather than collegiality, we are perhaps speaking about
ecumenism, perhaps of your being the primus inter pares of the Church?
Yes, in this, we must not go beyond what is said. The Pope is a bishop, the
Bishop of Rome, and because he is the Bishop of Rome he is the Successor of
Peter, Vicar of Christ. There are other titles, but the first title is “Bishop
of Rome” and everything follows from that. To say, to think that this means
being primus inter pares, no, that does not follow. It is simply the
Pope’s first title: Bishop of Rome. But there are others too ... I think you
said something about ecumenism. I think this actually helps ecumenism. But
only this ...
Now Dario Menor from La Razón, from Spain:
Dario Menor Torres:
A question about how you feel. A week ago you mentioned that a child had asked
you how it felt, whether someone could imagine being Pope and whether anyone
would want to be Pope. You said that people would have to be mad to want that.
After your first experience among a great multitude of people, such as you found
during these days in Rio, can you tell us how it feels to be Pope, whether it is
very hard, whether you are happy to be Pope, whether in some way your faith has
grown, or whether, on the contrary, you have had some doubts. Thank you.
To do the work of a bishop is a wonderful thing, it is wonderful. The problem
arises when someone seeks that work: this is not so good, this is not from the
Lord. But when the Lord calls a priest to become a bishop, this is good. There
is always the danger of thinking oneself a little superior to others, not like
others, something of a prince. There are dangers and sins. But the work
of a bishop is wonderful: it is to help one’s brothers and sisters to move
forward. The bishop ahead of the faithful, to mark out the path; the
bishop in the midst of the faithful, to foster communion; and the bishop
behind the faithful, because the faithful can often sniff out the path.
The bishop must be like that. You asked me whether I like it. Yes, I like
being a bishop, I like it. In Buenos Aires I was very happy, very happy! I was
happy, it’s true. The Lord helped me in that. But as a priest I was happy, and
as a bishop I was happy. In this sense I say: I like it!
Question from the floor:
And as Pope?
Likewise, likewise! When the Lord puts you there, if you do what the Lord
wants, you are happy. This is my feeling, this is how I feel.
Now another from the Italian group: Salvatore Mazza from “Avvenire”.
I cannot even stand up. Excuse me, I cannot even stand up, for all the wires I
have under my feet. We have seen during these days, we have seen you full of
energy, even late in the evening. We are watching you now on board the aircraft
which is tilting from side to side, and you are calmly standing there, without a
moment’s hesitation. We would like to ask you: there is talk of future
journeys. There is much talk of Asia, Jerusalem, Argentina. Do you already
have a more or less definite schedule for next year, or is everything still to
Definite, nothing is definite. But I can say something of what is being
planned. One thing that is definite – excuse me – is 22 September in Cagliari.
Then, 4 October in Assisi. I have it in mind, within Italy, to go and visit my
relatives for a day: to fly there one morning and to return the next morning,
because, bless them, they call me and we have a good relationship. But only for
one day. Outside Italy: Patriarch Bartholomaios I wants to have a meeting to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Athenagoras
and Paul VI in Jerusalem. The Israeli Government has also issued a special
invitation to go to Jerusalem. I think the Government of the Palestinian
Authority has done the same. This is what is in the pipeline: it is not quite
clear whether I’m going or not going ... Then, in Latin America, I don’t think
there is a possibility of returning, because the Latin American Pope, his first
journey is to Latin America! Enough! We must wait a little now! I think I
could go to Asia, but this is all up in the air. I have been invited to go to
Sri Lanka and also to the Philippines. But I must go to Asia. Because Pope
Benedict did not have time to go to Asia, and it is important. He went to
Australia and then to Europe and America, but Asia... Going to Argentina: at
the moment I think this can wait a little, because all these journeys have a
certain priority. I wanted to go to Istanbul on 30 September, to visit
Bartholomaios I, but it is not possible, it is not possible because of my
schedule. If we meet, it will be in Jerusalem.
Question from the floor:
Fatima, there is also an invitation to Fatima, it’s true, it’s true. There is
an invitation to go to Fatima.
Question from the floor:
30 September or 30 November?
November, November: Saint Andrew.
Good. Well, now we move to the United States, and we invite Ada Messia from
CNN to ask you a question:
Greetings. You are coping better than I ... No, no, no, it’s all right, it’s
all right. My question is this: when you met the young people from Argentina,
maybe with tongue in cheek, maybe seriously, you told them that you too, at
times, feel penned in. We would like to know what exactly you were referring to
You know how often I’ve wanted to go walking through the streets of Rome,
because, in Buenos Aires, I liked to go for a walk in the city, I really liked
to do that! In this sense, I feel a little penned in. But I have to say one
thing and that is that these fellows from the Vatican Gendarmerie are so good,
they are really, really good, and I am grateful to them. Now they’re letting me
do a few more things! I think… their job is to maintain security. So, penned
in in that sense. I’d like to go out walking but I understand that it isn’t
possible: I understand. That was what I meant. Because I used to be – as we
say in Buenos Aires – a callejero, a street priest…
And now we call on another Brazilian: it is Marcio Campos, and I also ask Mr
Guénois to come up for the next question, for the French.
I was asking what time it is, because they have to serve supper, but are you all
Holy Father, I want to say that whenever you miss Brazil, the joyful Brazilian
people, hold onto the flag that I gave you. I would also like to thank my
colleagues at the daily newspapers Folha de São Paulo, Estado,
Globo and Veja for being able to represent them in this question.
Holy Father, it is difficult to accompany a Pope, very difficult. We are all
tired, you are going strong and we are exhausted… In Brazil, the Catholic
Church has lost a number of the faithful in these recent years. Is the
Charismatic Renewal movement one possible way for ensuring that the faithful do
not go to the Pentecostal Church or other pentecostal churches? Many thanks for
your presence and many thanks for being with us.
It is very true what you are saying about the fall in numbers of the faithful:
it is true, it is true. The statistics are there. We spoke with the Brazilian
bishops about the problem at a meeting held yesterday. You asked about the
Charismatic Renewal movement. I’ll tell you one thing. Back at the end of the
1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, I had no time for them. Once, speaking
about them, I said: “These people confuse a liturgical celebration with samba
lessons!” I actually said that. Now I regret it. I learned. It is also true
that the movement, with good leaders, has made great progress. Now I think that
this movement does much good for the Church, overall. In Buenos Aires, I met
frequently with them and once a year I celebrated a Mass with all of them in the
Cathedral. I have always supported them, after I was converted, after I
saw the good they were doing. Because at this time in the Church – and here
I’ll make my answer a little more general – I believe that the movements are
necessary. The movements are a grace of the Spirit. “But how can you control a
movement which is so free?” The Church is free, too! The Holy Spirit does
what he wants. He is the one who creates harmony, but I do believe that the
movements are a grace, those movements which have the spirit of the Church.
Consequently I don’t think that the Charismatic Renewal movement merely prevents
some people from passing over to pentecostal denominations. No! It is also a
service to the Church herself! It renews us. Everyone seeks his own movement,
according to his own charism, where the Holy Spirit draws him or her.
Question in the background:
Yo estoy cansado. I am tired.
So, Mr Guénois from Le Figaro, for the French group.
Holy Father, one question, with my colleague from La Croix: You have said
that without women, the Church grows barren. What concrete measures will you
take? For example, the diaconate for women or a woman as a head of dicastery?
Also, a little technical question: you said you were tired. Have special
arrangements been made for the return flight? Thank you, Your Holiness.
Let’s begin with the last question. This plane doesn’t have any special
arrangements. I am up front, I have a nice seat, a normal one, the same as
everyone else has. I had them write a letter and make a phone call to say that
I did not want special arrangements on the plane: is that clear? Second, about
women. A Church without women is like the college of the Apostles without
Mary. The role of women in the Church is not simply that of maternity, being
mothers, but much greater: it is precisely to be the icon of the Virgin, of Our
Lady; what helps make the Church grow! But think about it, Our Lady is more
important than the Apostles! She is more important! The Church is feminine.
She is Church, she is bride, she is mother. But women, in the Church, must not
only… I don’t know how to say this in Italian… the role of women in the Church
must not be limited to being mothers, workers, a limited role… No! It is
something else! But the Popes.. Paul VI wrote beautifully of women, but I
believe that we have much more to do in making explicit this role and charism of
women. We can’t imagine a Church without women, but women active in the Church,
with the distinctive role that they play. I think of an example which has
nothing to do with the Church, but is an historical example: in Latin America,
Paraguay. For me, the women of Paraguay are the most glorious women in Latin
America. Are you paraguayo? After the war, there were eight women for
every man, and these women made a rather difficult decision: the decision to
bear children in order to save their country, their culture, their faith, and
their language. In the Church, this is how we should think of women: taking
risky decisions, yet as women. This needs to be better explained. I believe
that we have not yet come up with a profound theology of womanhood, in the
Church. All we say is: they can do this, they can do that, now they are altar
servers, now they do the readings, they are in charge of Caritas
(Catholic charities). But there is more! We need to develop a profound
theology of womanhood. That is what I think.
For the Spanish group, now, we have Pablo Ordas, from El País:
We would like to know about your working relationship, not just your
relationship of friendship but that of collaboration, with Benedict XVI. There
has never been a situation like this before, and whether you are frequently in
contact and if he is helping you in this work. Many thanks.
I think that the last time that there were two Popes, or three Popes, they
weren’t speaking to one another; they were fighting to see which was the true
Pope. We ended up with three Popes during the Western Schism.
There is one thing that describes my relationship with Benedict: I have such
great affection for him. I have always loved him. For me he is a man of God, a
humble man, a man of prayer. I was so happy when he was elected Pope. Also,
when he resigned, for me it was an example of greatness. A great man. Only a
great man does this! A man of God and a man of prayer. Now he is living in the
Vatican, and there are those who tell me: “How can this be? Two Popes in the
Vatican! Doesn’t he get in your way? Isn’t he plotting against you?” All
these sorts of things, no? I have found a good answer for this: “It’s like
having your grandfather in the house”, a wise grandfather. When families have a
grandfather at home, he is venerated, he is loved, he is listened to. Pope
Benedict is a man of great prudence. He doesn’t interfere! I have often told
him so: “Holiness, receive guests, lead your own life, come along with us”. He
did come for the unveiling and blessing of the statue of Saint Michael. So,
that phrase says it all. For me it’s like having a grandfather at home: my own
father. If I have a difficulty, or something I don’t understand, I can call him
on the phone: “Tell me, can I do this?” When I went to talk with him about that
big problem, Vatileaks, he told me everything with great simplicity … to
be helpful. There is something I don’t know whether you are aware of – I
believe you are, but I’m not certain – when he spoke to us in his farewell
address, on 28 February, he said: “In your midst is the next Pope: I promise him
obedience”. He is a great man; this is a great man!
Now it is the turn of a Brazilian once again; Ana Fereira; and then Gianguido
Vecchi for the Italians.
Good evening, Holy Father. Thanks. I would like to say any number of
“thanks”. Thanks for having brought so much joy to Brazil, and thanks also for
responding to our questions. We journalists really like to ask questions. I
would like to know, since yesterday you spoke to the Brazilian bishops about the
participation of women in our Church... I would like to understand better, what
this participation of us women in the Church would be like. Also, what do you
think of women’s ordination? What should our position in the Church be like?
I would like to explain a bit more what I said about women’s participation in
the Church. It can’t just be about their acting as altar servers, heads of
Caritas, catechists… No! They have to be more, profoundly more, even
mystically more, along with everything I said about the theology of womanhood.
And, as far as women’s ordination is concerned, the Church has spoken and said:
“No”. John Paul II said it, but with a definitive formulation. That door is
closed, but on this issue I want to tell you something. I have said it, but I
repeat it. Our Lady, Mary, was more important than the Apostles, than bishops
and deacons and priests. Women, in the Church, are more important than bishops
and priests; how, this is something we have to try to explain better,
because I believe that we lack a theological explanation of this. Thank you.
Gianguido Vecchi, from Corriere della Sera: then
I would ask Mrs Pigozzi and Nicole to come forward.
Holy Father, during this visit too, you have frequently spoken of mercy. With
regard to the reception of the sacraments by the divorced and remarried, is
there the possibility of a change in the Church’s discipline? That these
sacraments might be an opportunity to bring these people closer, rather than a
barrier dividing them from the other faithful?
This is an issue which frequently comes up. Mercy is something much larger than
the one case you raised. I believe that this is the season of mercy. This new
era we have entered, and the many problems in the Church – like the poor witness
given by some priests, problems of corruption in the Church, the problem of
clericalism for example – have left so many people hurt, left so much hurt. The
Church is a mother: she has to go out to heal those who are hurting, with
mercy. If the Lord never tires of forgiving, we have no other choice than this:
first of all, to care for those who are hurting. The Church is a mother, and
she must travel this path of mercy. And find a form of mercy for all. When the
prodigal son returned home, I don’t think his father told him: “You, sit down
and listen: what did you do with the money?” No! He celebrated! Then,
perhaps, when the son was ready to speak, he spoke. The Church has to do this,
when there is someone… not only wait for them, but go out and find them! That
is what mercy is. And I believe that this is a kairos: this time is a
kairos of mercy. But John Paul II had the first intuition of this, when he
began with Faustina Kowalska, the Divine Mercy… He had something, he had
intuited that this was a need in our time. With reference to the issue of
giving communion to persons in a second union (because those who are divorced
can receive communion, there is no problem, but when they are in a second union,
they can’t…), I believe that we need to look at this within the larger context
of the entire pastoral care of marriage. And so it is a problem. But also – a
parenthesis – the Orthodox have a different practice. They follow the theology
of what they call oikonomia, and they give a second chance, they allow
it. But I believe that this problem – and here I close the parenthesis – must
be studied within the context of the pastoral care of marriage. And so, two
things: first, one of the themes to be examined with the eight members of the
Council of Cardinals with whom I will meet on 1-3 October is how to move forward
in the pastoral care of marriage, and this problem will come up there. And a
second thing: two weeks ago the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops met with me
about the theme of the next Synod. It was an anthropological theme, but talking
it over, going back and forth, we saw this anthropological theme: how does the
faith help with one’s personal life-project, but in the family, and so pointing
towards the pastoral care of marriage. We are moving towards a somewhat deeper
pastoral care of marriage. And this is a problem for everyone, because there
are so many of them, no? For example, I will only mention one: Cardinal
Quarracino, my predecessor, used to say that as far as he was concerned, half of
all marriages are null. But why did he say this? Because people get married
lacking maturity, they get married without realizing that it is a life-long
commitment, they get married because society tells them they have to get
married. And this is where the pastoral care of marriage also comes in. And
then there is the legal problem of matrimonial nullity, this has to be reviewed,
because ecclesiastical tribunals are not sufficient for this. It is complex,
the problem of the pastoral care of marriage. Thank you.
Thank you. And now we have Mrs Pigozzi, from Paris Match, also from the
Good evening, Holy Father. I would like to know if, now that you are the Pope,
you still feel that you are a Jesuit…
That is a theological question, because Jesuits make a vow of obedience to the
Pope. But if the Pope is a Jesuit, perhaps he has to make a vow of obedience to
the General of the Jesuits! I don’t know how to resolve this … I feel a Jesuit
in my spirituality; in the spirituality of the Exercises, the spirituality deep
in my heart. I feel this so deeply that in three days I will go to celebrate
with the Jesuits the feast of Saint Ignatius: I will say the morning Mass. I
have not changed my spirituality, no. Francis, Franciscan, no. I feel a
Jesuit and I think as a Jesuit. I don’t mean that hypocritically, but I think
as a Jesuit. Thank you.
If you can hold out, there are still some questions. Now, Nicole Winfield, from
the Associated Press, and there are … I had a list and actually I thought you
had things planned among yourselves… Anyway, Elisabetta, get in line too, sorry.
Your Holiness, thank you once again for coming “among the lions”. Your
Holiness, in the fourth month of your pontificate, I wanted to ask you to make a
little tally. Can you tell us what is the best thing about being Pope, an
anecdote, and what is the worst, and what is the thing that has most surprised
you in this period?
I don’t know how to answer that, really. Big things, major things, there just
haven’t been any. Beautiful things, yes; for example, my meeting with the
Italian bishops was very good, very good. As Bishop of the capital of Italy, I
felt at home with them. And that was good, but I don’t know if it was the
best. Also a painful thing, one which really touched my heart, the visit to
Lampedusa. It was enough to make you weep, it did me good. When these boats
arrive, they leave them several miles out from the coastline and they must come
ashore alone, on a boat. And this pains me because I think that these people
are victims of a world-wide socio-economic system. But the worst thing that
happened – excuse me – was an attack of sciatica – really! – that I had the
first month, because I was sitting in an armchair to do interviews and it hurt.
Sciatica is very painful, very painful! I don't wish it on anyone! But these
things: talking with people; the meeting with seminarians and religious was
quite beautiful, it was really beautiful. Also, the meeting with the students
of Jesuit schools was very beautiful… good things.
What surprised you most?
People, people, the good people I found. I found many good people in the
Vatican. I was wondering what I could say, but that is true. I am being fair
in saying this: so many good people. So many good people, so many good people,
but good, good, good!
Elisabetta, someone that you know, and also Sergio Rubini, come forward, and so
now we have the Argentinians.
Pope Francis, first of all, on behalf of the fifty thousand Argentinians whom I
met and who told me, “You will be travelling with the Pope, so please tell him
that he was fantastic, stupendous; ask him when he will come”. But you already
said you wouldn’t be going .... therefore, I would like to ask you a more
difficult question. Were you afraid when you saw the Vatileaks report?
No! I will tell you a story about the Vatileaks report. When I met with Pope
Benedict, after we had prayed in the Chapel, we were in his study and I saw a
large box and envelope. Excuse me . . . Benedict said to me; “In this big box
are all the statements, all that the witnesses said, everything is there. But
the summary and the final judgment are in this envelope. And it says here . .
.” He had it all in his head! What intelligence! Everything memorized,
everything! But no, it didn’t frighten me, no. No, no. Though it is a big
problem. But it didn’t frighten me.
Your Holiness, two things. The first is this: you insisted a great deal on
stemming the loss of the faithful. In Brazil, you were very strong. Do you
hope that this trip will contribute to people returning to the Church, to them
feeling closer to the Church? And second, more informally: you loved Argentina
and held Buenos Aires in your heart. The Argentinians are asking if you miss
Buenos Aires a lot, riding on the bus, walking through the streets? Many
I believe that a Papal trip always helps. I believe it will do Brazil good, not
just because the Pope was present, but because of what happened during WYD, how
the youth mobilized themselves and these young people will do great good, and
maybe they will be able to help the Church a great deal. But these faithful who
have left the Church, many are not happy because they know they belong to the
Church. I think that this will be very positive, not only for the trip, but
above all for the event. WYD was a marvellous event. And yes, at times I do
miss Buenos Aires and I feel it. But I am serene about it. But I believe that
you, Sergio, know me better than all the others and you are able to answer this
question, with the book that you wrote!
Now we have the Russian reporter and then there is Valentina, our senior
reporter, who would like to be last.
Good evening, Holy Father. Holy Father, returning to ecumenism: today, the
Orthodox are celebrating one thousand and twenty-five years of Christianity, and
there are great festivities in many capital cities. If you would comment on
this, I would be grateful. Thank you.
In the Orthodox Churches, they have retained that pristine liturgy, which is so
beautiful. We have lost some of the sense of adoration. The Orthodox preserved
it; they praise God, they adore God, they sing, time does not matter. God is at
the centre, and I would like to say, as you ask me this question, that this is a
richness. Once, speaking of the Western Church, of Western Europe, especially
the older Church, they said this phrase to me: Lux ex oriente, ex occidente
luxus. Consumerism, comfort, they have done such harm. Instead, you retain
this beauty of God in the centre, the reference point. When reading Dostoevsky
– I believe that for all of us he is an author that we must read and reread due
to his wisdom – one senses what the Russian soul is, what the eastern soul is.
It is something that does us much good. We need this renewal, this fresh air
from the East, this light from the East. John Paul II wrote about this in his
Letter. But many times the luxus of the West makes us lose this
horizon. I don’t know, but these are the thoughts that come to me. Thank you.
And now we close with Valentina who, having been first during the trip to Rio de
Janiero, will be the last for the return trip to Rome.
Your Holiness, thank you for keeping your promise to respond to our questions on
this return trip ...
I have made you late for dinner ...
It doesn’t matter ... The question for all Mexicans is: when are you going to
visit Guadalupe? ... But this is the question of the Mexicans ... Mine would be:
you will canonize the two great Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II. I would
like to know what is – according to you – the model of holiness that emerges
from them both and what is the impact that these Popes have had on the Church
and on you?
John XXIII is a bit like the figure of the country priest, the priest who
loves all the faithful, who knows how to care for the faithful and this he did
as a Bishop, and as a Nuncio. How many baptismal certificates did he forge in
Turkey to help the Jews! He was courageous, a good country priest, with a great
sense of humour, and great holiness. When he was Nuncio, some did not support
him in the Vatican, and when he would arrive in Rome to deliver something or to
ask a question, certain offices would make him wait. But he never complained:
he would pray the Rosary, say the breviary. He was meek and humble, and he
always concerned himself with the poor. When Cardinal Casaroli returned from a
mission – I believe it was from Hungary or from what was then Czechoslovakia, I
don’t remember which, though – the Cardinal went to Pope John to tell him how
the mission went, in that epoch of the diplomacy of “small steps”. And the Pope
and Cardinal Casaroli met – twenty days later Pope John XXIII would be dead –
and as the Cardinal was leaving, the Pope stopped him: “Your Eminence – no, he
wasn’t yet a Cardinal – Your Excellency, a question: are you still going to see
those young people?” He asked because Cardinal Casaroli had been going to the
juvenile prison in Casal del Marmo and visiting with the young people. And
Cardinal Casaroli said: “Yes, yes!” “Never abandon them.” This to a diplomat,
who was returning from a diplomatic mission, a very important trip, that John
XXIII said: “Never abandon the young”. How great he was, how great! Then, he
was also a man of the Council: he was a man docile to the voice of God, which
came to him through the Holy Spirit, and he was docile to the Spirit. Pius XII
was thinking of calling the Council, but the circumstances weren’t right. I
believe that John XXIII didn’t think about the circumstances: he felt and
acted. He was a man who let the Lord guide him. Regarding John Paul II, I
would say he was “the great missionary of the Church”: he was a missionary, a
man who carried the Gospel everywhere, as you know better than I. How many
trips did he make? But he went! He felt this fire of carrying forth the Word
of the Lord. He was like Paul, like Saint Paul, he was such a man; for me this
is something great. And to canonize them both together will be, I believe, a
message for the Church: these two were wonderful, both of them. Paul VI’s cause
is also under way, as is the cause of John Paul I. Both are under way. One
more thing that I believe I said already, but I don’t know if I said it here or
elsewhere – the canonization date. One date under consideration was 8 December
this year, but there is a significant problem; those who will come from Poland,
some can afford to come by air, but the poor will come by bus and the roads are
already icy in December, so I think the date needs to be rethought. I spoke
with Cardinal Dziwisz and he suggested to me two possibilities: Christ the King
Sunday this year or Divine Mercy Sunday next year. I think there is too little
time for Christ the King this year, since the Consistory will be on 30 September
and the end of October will be too soon. But I don’t know. I must speak with
Cardinal Amato about this. But I don’t think it will be 8 December.
Question from the floor
But they will be canonized together?
Both together, yes.
Thank you, Your Holiness. Who is still to come? Ilze? Then everyone will have
had a turn, even more than had signed up before ...
I would like permission to ask a delicate question: another image that has been
going around the world is that of Monsignor Ricca and the news about his private
life. I would like to know, Your Holiness, what you intend to do about this?
How are you confronting this issue and how does Your Holiness intend to confront
the whole question of the gay lobby?
About Monsignor Ricca: I did what canon law calls for, that is a preliminary
investigation. And from this investigation, there was nothing of what had
been alleged. We did not find anything of that. This is the response. But I
wish to add something else: I see that many times in the Church, over and above
this case, but including this case, people search for “sins from youth”, for
example, and then publish them. They are not crimes, right? Crimes are
something different: the abuse of minors is a crime. No, sins. But if a
person, whether it be a lay person, a priest or a religious sister, commits a
sin and then converts, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord
forgets and this is very important for our lives. When we confess our sins and
we truly say, “I have sinned in this”, the Lord forgets, and so we have no right
not to forget, because otherwise we would run the risk of the Lord not
forgetting our sins. That is a danger. This is important: a theology of sin.
Many times I think of Saint Peter. He committed one of the worst sins, that is
he denied Christ, and even with this sin they made him Pope. We have to think a
great deal about that. But, returning to your question more concretely. In
this case, I conducted the preliminary investigation and we didn’t find
anything. This is the first question. Then, you spoke about the gay lobby. So
much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven’t found anyone with an
identity card in the Vatican with “gay” on it. They say there are some there.
I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish
between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby,
because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good. If someone is gay and
is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The
Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying ...
wait a moment, how does it say it ... it says: “no one should marginalize these
people for this, they must be integrated into society”. The problem is not
having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and
there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of
this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so
many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem. Thank you so much for
asking this question. Many thanks.
Thank you. It seems to me that we cannot do more than we have done. We have
kept the Pope too long, after he already said he was a little tired. We wish
him now some time of rest.
Thank you. Goodnight, have a good trip and rest well.