In a wide-ranging off-the-cuff question-and-answer session with Jesuit delegates in Rome, Pope Francis had two big topics on his mind: the decline of politics, and the rise of rigidity in seminaries.
Lamenting that “big politics” has descended into “small politics,” Pope Francis says politicians generally are “on the wane” and no longer capable of building unity out of diversity.
“Countries [today] lack those great politicians who were able to spend themselves seriously for their ideals and were not afraid of dialogue or struggle, but went ahead, with intelligence and with the charism specific to politics,” he told the Jesuits in Rome on October 24.
The transcript of Francis’s one-hour-and-a-half, off-the-cuff dialogue with delegates to the 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus - the Jesuit governing body which met recently in Rome - was published today in Spanish, Italian and English on the website of the Italian Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica.
The Pope spoke in Spanish, but made revisions to the Italian translation of the transcript given to him by the journal’s editor, Father Antonio Spadaro.
Urging the Jesuits to embrace a “prophetic audacity” based on their charism of always seeking God’s great glory (known as the magis), he said it was sometimes necessary to join that audacity with efforts at persuasion and diplomacy.
He cited one area in particular for the Jesuits to focus on: combatting corruption, giving as an example the attempt by political leaders while in power to reform a country’s constitution to allow them to serve another term in office.