2013-10-01 Vatican Radio(Vatican Radio) In an exclusive interview with the Italian national daily, La Repubblica, Pope Francis said he is seeking to change the Church so that it once again becomes “a community of God’s people”, where “priests, pastors and bishops, who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God”.
The interview, conducted by the newspaper’s founder, Eugenio Scalfari, and printed in the edition of 1 October, runs three pages long. Scalfari had conducted the interview at the Pope’s residence Sept. 24.
The Pope told Scalfari that the Church’s objective is not to proselytize, which he said is “solemn nonsense”, but to “listen to the needs, desires, disappointments, despair and hope” of the people.
The ideal of a missionary and poor Church, incarnated by Saint Francis 800 years ago, remains more than valid today, in order “to restore hope to the young, to help the elderly, to be open toward the future, and to spread love,” he said.
The Church must “be poor among the poor… (and) include the excluded and preach peace.”
The Pope responded to questions on the concepts of good and evil, personal conscience, love of neighbour, the common good, and narcissism among people in power.
Even the “leaders of the Church were narcissistic, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy,” the Pope said.
When asked if the court referred to the Curia, he replied: "No, there are sometimes courtiers in the Curia, but the Curia as a whole is another thing. … But it has one defect: it is Vatican-centric. It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests. This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us.
“I do not share this view,” he continued, “and I'll do everything I can to change it. The Church is, or should go back to being, a community of God's people, and priests, pastors and bishops, who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God.”
When asked his perspective on the issue of Christianity being a minority worldwide, the Pope replied: "We always have been but the issue today is not that. Personally, I think that being a minority is actually a strength.”
Christians, he said “have to be a leavening of life and love, and the leavening is infinitely smaller than the mass of fruits, flowers and trees that are born out of it.
“I believe I have already said that our goal is not to proselytize but to listen to needs, desires and disappointments, despair, hope. We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace,” he stated.
He recalled that the Second Vatican Council “decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to be open to modern culture.”
“The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done in that direction,” he lamented. “I have the humility and ambition to want to do something."
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