In a wide-ranging interview with La Croix, Pope Francis discussed various issues facing the Church in France, as well as Islam and migration.“I do not think there is now a fear …
Excellent interview. God bless our Pope.
I just read a very good machine-translated version of the original interview, and I think it was a complete version. Looks good! Vatican Radio’s summary includes excerpts that basically translate the whole interview, with a few exceptions that are minor in my opinion.
Vatican Radio’s Summary with Generous English Excerpts
Machine Translated Interview - Part 1
Machine Translated Interview - Part 2
Machine Translated Interview - Part 3
Machine Translated Interview - Part 4
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
The Pope Clarifies the SSPX
Interviewer: “Would you be prepared to give [the SSPX] a status of personal prelature?”
Pope Francis: “This would be a possible solution but first there must be a fundamental agreement with them. The Second Vatican Council has its value. We advance slowly, patiently.”
The Pope Clarifies the Synod on the Family
Interviewer: “You called two Synods on the family. … [Has] the Church changed?”
Pope Francis: “…we must think about the true synodality, at least that means Catholic synodality. Bishops are cum Pietro, sub Pietro (with the successor of Peter and under Peter’s successor, Ed). This differs from the Orthodox synodality and that of the Greek Catholic Churches, where the patriarch only counts for one vote.”
The Pope Promotes Europe’s Christian Roots
Interviewer: “In your speech on Europe, you mention the ‘roots’ of the continent, without ever call them Christian. … Do you think the expression ‘Christian roots’ is inappropriate for Europe?”
Pope Francis: “…Europe, yes, has Christian roots. Christianity has a duty to water them, but in a spirit of service and for the washing of feet. The duty of Christianity for Europe, it is the service. Erich Przywara, grand master of Romano Guardini and Hans Urs von Balthasar, teaches us the contribution of Christianity to culture is that of Christ with the washing of feet, that is to say the service and the gift of life.”
The Pope Promotes Restrictions on Immigration
Interviewer: “You have set an important signal by returning refugees from Lesbos in Rome on 16 April. But [can] Europe…accommodate so many migrants?”
Pope Francis: “That is a fair and responsible question because we can not open the doors irrationally.”
The Pope Promotes Some Arms Manufacturers & the Just War Doctrine
Pope Francis: “The initial problem is the wars in the Middle East and Africa and underdevelopment of the African continent, causing hunger. If there is war, it is because there are arms manufacturers - which can be justified for the defense - especially arms traffickers. If there is so much unemployment, it is because of the lack of investment that can provide work, such as Africa so desperately needs.”
The Pope Knows that Conquest is the Soul of Islam
Pope Francis: “I do not think there is now a fear of Islam, as such, but [Isis] and its war of conquest, driven in part of Islam. The idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam, it is true. But [it] could be interpreted with the same idea of conquest [that is at] the end of the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus sends his disciples in all nations.”
The Pope on Conscientious Objection
Interviewer: “In this secular framework, how do Catholics should defend their concerns on social issues, such as euthanasia or marriage between persons of the same sex?”
Pope Francis: “It is [in] Parliament that we must discuss, argue, explain, reason. Thus a growing company. Once the law is passed, the state must respect the consciences. In each legal structure, conscientious objection must be present for it is a human right. Including for a government official, who is a human person. The state must also respect the criticism. That is a true [lay-state]. We can not sweep the arguments of the Catholics, saying: ‘You speak like a priest.’ No, they rely on Christian thought, that France has so remarkably developed.”
One Possible Problem with the English Machine Translation
In Part 4 of the interview, the French words laïque and laïcité are repeatedly translated as secular and secularism. I think that is problematic because it results in the pope saying “The state must be secular.” I think those words would be better translated as “The state must be run by laypeople,” etc. I do not think he is saying that a state shouldn’t recognize Catholicism as the truth. Vatican 2 supports that. Rather, lay people should run the state rather than priests, and the state should permit religious liberty within the boundaries set by Vatican 2 and other Church documents.
First of all, thanks a lot, dmar. Excellent work.
Second, the part in bold is eliciting the usual paroxysms of rage from the Usual Suspects of the Blogosphere (I’m not linking to them, because they’re clearly desperate for attention. Like a child throwing a tantrum, the best way to handle them is “Ignore”. :))
What I think the Pope is trying to say is that:
though Islam has been a military / invasive faith, there are also some who view “jihad” in terms of spiritual warfare and converting the world to Islam. In this sense, there is a similarity to the notion that Christians must spread the Gospel to the whole world. The differences are obvious, but he probably assumed that we were intelligent enough to know them. In other words - Islam and Christianity are both missionary religions, unlike, say, Hinduism or Buddhism. However, Islam differs in that it believes in spreading the faith violently.
There could also be an allusion to how Christian nations have sometimes misinterpreted Christ’s mandate and treated native / pagan cultures in a less than charitable way. However, if that was his meaning, it isn’t clear from the text.
At any rate, more words to live by from Papa Francis. (Can you tell I’m a fan?)
On “laicite”; I am fairly fluent with French as a second language, and I’ve heard French citizens use it in the sense of “secularism / secularity”. However, this could be a translation issue. Did Pope Francis speak in French? How familiar was he with the secular overtones of that term? I know I sometimes put my foot in it when it comes to French idioms, even though I grew up in a French-speaking part of the world.
it is my understanding that secularism is the English word that has the closest meaning to laicite. Nevertheless, there are differences. Secularism in English does not always refer to lay people, since diocesan clergy are sometimes called secular priests. But I think the word laicite is rooted in the word Lay, as in lay people.
Here is how Pope Benedict discussed laicite, and it is noteworthy that the following Vatican translation leaves the word in French:
“Many people, here in France as elsewhere, have reflected on the relations between Church and State. Indeed, Christ had already offered the basic principle for a just solution to the problem of relations between the political sphere and the religious sphere when, in answer to a question, he said: ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ (Mk 12:17). The Church in France currently benefits from a ‘regime of freedom’. Past suspicion has been gradually transformed into a serene and positive dialogue that continues to grow stronger. A new instrument of dialogue has been in place since 2002, and I have much confidence in its work, given the mutual good will. We know that there are still some areas open to dialogue which we will have to pursue and redevelop step by step with determination and patience. You yourself, Mr President, have used the fine expression ‘laïcité positive’ to characterize this more open understanding. At this moment in history when cultures continue to cross paths more frequently, I am firmly convinced that a new reflection on the true meaning and importance of laïcité is now necessary. In fact, it is fundamental, on the one hand, to insist on the distinction between the political realm and that of religion in order to preserve both the religious freedom of citizens and the responsibility of the State towards them; and, on the other hand, to become more aware of the irreplaceable role of religion for the formation of consciences and the contribution which it can bring to – among other things – the creation of a basic ethical consensus in society.” source
That makes sense! Thanks a lot.