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Pope Francis: in his own words

By on Thursday, 14 March 2013

Pope Francis prior to his election  (Photo: CNS)

Pope Francis prior to his election (Photo: CNS)

Speaking to Vatican Insider last month:

Benedict XVI has insisted on the renewal of faith being a priority and presents faith as a gift that must be passed on, a gift to be offered to others and to be shared as a gratuitous act. It is not a possession, but a mission…

We need to come out of ourselves and head for the periphery. We need to avoid the spiritual sickness of a Church that is wrapped up in its own world: when a Church becomes like this, it grows sick. It is true that going out onto the street implies the risk of accidents happening, as they would to any ordinary man or woman. But is the Church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age. And if I had to choose between a wounded Church that goes out onto the streets and a sick withdrawn Church, I would definitely choose the first one…

We seek to make contact with families that are not involved in the parish. Instead of just being a Church that welcomes and receives, we try to be a Church that comes out of itself and goes to the men and women who do not participate in parish life, do not know much about it and are indifferent towards it. We organise missions in public squares where many people usually gather: we pray, we celebrate mass, we offer baptism which we administer after a brief preparation. This is the style of the parishes and the diocese itself. Other than this, we also try to reach out to people who are far away, via digital means, the web and brief messaging…

The cardinalate is a service is, it is not an award to be bragged about. Vanity, showing off, is an attitude that reduces spirituality to a worldly thing, which is the worst sin that could be committed in the Church. This is affirmed in the final pages of the book entitled Méditation sur l’Église, by Henri De Lubac. Spiritual worldliness is a form of religious anthropocentrism that has Gnostic elements. Careerism and the search for a promotion come under the category of spiritual worldliness. An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity, is this: look at the peacock; it’s beautiful if you look at it from the front. But if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth… Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them.

In an interview with the magazine, 30 Days:

Missionary fervor does not require extraordinary events. It is in ordinary life that mission work is done.

At a Mass for victims of human trafficking:

For many, Buenos Aires is a meat grinder which destroys their lives, breaks their will, and deprives them of freedom…

In our city there are people committing human sacrifice, killing the dignity of these men and these women, these girls and boys that are submitted to this treatment, to slavery. We cannot remain calm.

In an address to priests:

In our ecclesiastical region, there are priests who don’t baptise the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage.

These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalise the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish until her child can be baptised!

On economic inequality:

We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least.The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.

On same-sex marriage:

At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.” Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.

Participating in a Rosh Hashana celebration at the Buenos Aires synagogue:

He said he was there to examine his heart, “like a pilgrim, together with you, my elder brothers”.

“Today, here in this synagogue, we are made newly aware of the fact that we are a people on a journey and we place ourselves in God’s presence,” the cardinal said. “We must look at him and let him look at us, to examine our heart in his presence and to ask ourselves if we are walking blamelessly.”

He recalled that the Lord “forgives and is patient.” But he admitted that “today we will surely find things to reprimand ourselves for and situations in which we have not walked in his presence.”

“We are asked to be loyal in recognising those things, to accept that it is so,” he continued. “But in the end we are asked not to hide these, our errors, this meanness, this sin in its totality […] but to place them in front of God’s eyes — that Lord who forgives and is patient.

“And we must do this with courage and trust, knowing that his faithfulness involves infinite tenderness, aware that it is he who invites us to draw near to spread that faithfulness-tenderness in abundant mercy. Even if your sins are scarlet, they will become white as snow, he promises us; even if they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.”