Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Pope Francis press conference on the way back from Korea

A full transcript of the "Q and A" between Pope Francis and journalists during the flight back to Rome from his recent visit to Korea has been published. A copy can be found at Catholic Voices, along with some links to news reports following it: Pope Francis press conference on papal plane from Seoul: full transcript.

Of course, traditionalist comment has totally, and it seems to me quite deliberately, mis-represented the following remark made by Pope Francis, in answer to a question about how he manages his extraordinary popularity. I quote Pope Francis full answer, with my emphasis added:
 I don’t know how to respond. I live it thanking the Lord that his people are happy.  Truly, I do this. And I wish the People of God the best .  I live it as generosity on the part of the people.  Interiorly,  I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, so as not to think that I am somebody.  Because I know this will last a short time, two or three years, and then to the house of the Father. And then it’s not wise to believe in this. I live it as  the presence of the Lord in his people who use the bishop, the pastor of the people, to show many things.  I live it a little more naturally than before, at the beginning I was a little frightened.  But I do these thing, it comes into my mind that I must not make a mistake so as not to do wrong to the people in these things. A little that way.
 AFP's reporting of these words suggests that Pope Francis spoke "light-heartedly" - but even if he did not, it is the most crass of interpretations to read into these words the sin of presumption.

Two other points in the transcript caught my attention. The first is in relation to the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero, which is something I would like to see occur "subito". I have only a limited understanding of why the cause was ever blocked "for reasons of prudence" - many of Archbishop Romero's advocates can appear to be problematical (to use a diplomatic word), but his own teaching and practice have always appeared to me impeccable. Indeed, he exemplifies for me how a pastor should apply the teaching of the universal Church in the particular circumstances of his own time and place. The interesting point in Pope Francis' remarks refers to how we understand the nature of martyrdom - way back in 1985, I spoke and wrote of Archbishop Romero and Fr Jerzy Popieluszko as "martyrs for the truth" about the human person and about the situations in which they had to live out that truth. Again, I quote the full answer, with my emphasis added:
What I would like is to have clarified when there is martyrdom in ‘odium fidei’ (out of hate for the faith),  whether it is for confessing the credo or  for performing the works that Jesus commands us to do  for our neighbor. This is a work of theologians that is being studied.  Because behind him (Romero), there is Rutillio Grande and there are others.  There are other that were also killed but are not at the same height as Romero. This has to be distinguished theologically. For me, Romero is a man of God.   He was a man of God but there has to be the process, and the Lord will have to give his sign (of approval). But if He wishes, He will do so!   The postulators must move now because there are no impediments.

The other point that caught my attention was the suggestion that the retirement of a Pope was now perhaps a possibility that was "normal" or "institutional", rather than "exceptional", and that this was a possibility created by Pope Benedict's resignation:
... as I said before, some theologian may say this is not right, but I think this way.  The centuries will tell us if this so or not. Let’s see.
But you could say to me, if you at some time felt you could not go forward, I would do the same!  I would do the same.  I would pray, but I would do the same. He (Benedict) opened a door that is institutional, not exceptional.


Patricius said...

I just want to say that I think you have everything "spot on" here and that I agree regarding both Pope Francis and Archbishop Romero. Certainly to accuse the holy father of presumption on the basis of his remarks is absurd beyond measure. Where else other than "the Father's house" are we to go for judgement?

Lepanto said...

We go to the judgement seat for judgement where Jesus is our judge. We go to the Father's House (heaven) if Jesus directs us there, otherwise we go to Purgatory or hell. Our Lady of Fatima seemed to indicate that those saved generally go to purgatory after judgement. Let's say that he is being optimistic rather than being guilty of presumption.

Joe said...

Perhaps His Holiness was manifesting the virtue of hope? And why should he not do so?