Here are parts from La Nación’s correspondent Elisabetta Piqué interview Pope Francis.
-A recent survey (Pew) confirmed that, despite the “Francis effect”, Catholics still keep leaving the Church.
-I am familiar with the figures disclosed at Aparecida, it´s the only information I have. There are evidently several factors of influence, independent of the Church. The theology of prosperity, for instance, just to quote an example, has inspired many religious propositions which people feel attracted to. These people, however, end up in the middle. But let´s leave out factors which are external to the Church. I wonder about ourselves, what is it that we ourselves do, what is within the Church that makes the faithful unhappy? It´s that people don´t feel we are close enough, it´s clericalism. Today , to be close means to reach out to Catholics, to seek people out and be close to them, to sympathize with their problems, with their reality. Clericalism, as I told the CELAM bishops in Río de Janeiro, stopped laypersons from maturing. Precisely, laypersons are more mature in Latin America when they express popular piety. Clericalism was always an issue for lay organizations. I spoke of it in Evangelii Gaudium.
– Does the renovation of the Church which you have been calling upon since you were elected, and precisely in Evangelii Gaudium, also target staryed sheep and stopping the faithful from dropping out?
– I don´t like the “dropping out” image because it is all to close to proselytism. I don´t like to use terms connected with proselytism because that´s not the truth. I like to use the image of the field hospital: some people are very much injured and are waiting for us to heal their wounds, they are injured for a thousand reasons. We must reach out to them and heal their wounds.
– ¿Is that, then, the strategy to recover those that have left?
– I don´t like the word “strategy”, I´d much rather speak about the Lord´s pastoral call, otherwise it sounds like an NGO. It´s the Lord´s call, what the Church is asking from us today, not as a strategy, because the Church isn´t into proselytism. The Church doesn´t want to engage in proselytism because the Church does not grow on proselytism, it grows on attraction, as Benedict said. The Church needs to be a field hospital and we need to set out to heal wounds, just as the good Samaritan did. Some people´s wounds result from neglect, others are wounded because they have been forsaken by the Church itself, some people are suffering terribly.
– The G9 will be meeting again next week, the group of 9 consultant cardinals that are helping you with the reform process of the Curia and the universal church governance. Will the famous Church reform be ready by 2015?
– No, it´s a slow process. The other day we got together with the Dicastery heads and submitted the proposal of joining Laypersons, Family, Justice and Peace Dicasteries. We discussed it all, each one of us said what he thought. Now it will be forwarded back to the G9. You know, reforming the Curia will take a long time, this is the most complex part..
– That means it won´t be ready by 2015?
– No. We´re tackling it little by little.
– Is it true that a couple might be the head of this new dicastery, that you mightjoin the Laypersons, Family and Justice and Peace Pontifical Councils?
– Perhaps, I don´t really know. The heads of the dicasteries or of the secretariat shall be the fittest, whether man or woman, or even a couple…
– And not necessarily a cardinal or a bishop…
– The head of a dicastery such as the Congregation for the doctrine of the Faith, the liturgical dicastery or the new dicastery encompassing Laymen, Family and Justice and Peace will always be a cardinal. This is best because dicasteries are very close to the Pope. But dicastery secretaries do not necessarily have to be bishops because a problem we have is when we have to change a bishop-secretary, where do we send him? We need to find a dioceses, but sometimes they are not fit for one, they´re good at the other job. I´ve only appointed two bishop secretaries: the Governorate secretary, who thus more or less became the parish priest of all this, and the secretary general of the synod of bishops, for episcopalism.
– A conservative sector in the US thinks that you removed the North American cardinal Raymond Leo Burke from the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura because he was the leader of a group that resisted changes of any type in the synod of bishops.. Is it true?
– One day Cardinal Burke asked me what he would be doing as he had still not been confirmed in his position, in the legal sector, but rather had been confirmed “donec alitur provideatur”. And I answered “Give me some time because we are thinking of a legal restructuring of the G9”. I told him nothing had been done about it yet and that it was being considered. After that the issue of the Order of Malta cropped up and we needed a smart American who would know how to get around and I thought of him for that position. I suggested this to him long before the synod. I said to him “This will take place after the synod because I want you to participate in the synod as Dicastery Head”. As the chaplain of Malta he wouldn´t have been able to be present. He thanked me in very good terms and accepted my offer, I even think he liked it. Because he is a man that gets around a lot, he does a lot of travelling and would surely be busy there. It is therefore not true that I removed him because of how he had behaved in the synod.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.