Pope Francis gives earth-shaking interview to atheist, criticizes narcissism in Church
Pope calls an all to move towards good, talks about favorite saints.
Pope Francis gave an interview to La Repubblica criticizing the Vatican culture as one of narcissism. He also spoke about the importance of agape and the saints that are closest to his soul.
The interview has many highlights, but comes to a single point, one that is the hallmark of Pope Francis' tenure.
The ultimate question and answer was asked in the first half of the interview, but its early response does not diminish its importance.
Scalfari asked, "Jesus in his preaching said that agape, love for others, is the only way to love God. Correct me if I'm wrong."
Pope Francis replied, "You're not wrong. The Son of God became incarnate in the souls of men to instill the feeling of brotherhood. All are brothers and all children of God. Abba, as he called the Father. I will show you the way, he said. Follow me and you will find the Father and you will all be his children and he will take delight in you. Agape, the love of each one of us for the other, from the closest to the furthest, is in fact the only way that Jesus has given us to find the way of salvation and of the Beatitudes."
If the interview could be distilled into one point, this is it. Follow Christ and love one another. While this has always been the Christian message, it is also something from which the Church and all people have become distracted, making the message just as relevant as the time when Christ delivered it himself.
When Scalfari asked Pope Francis about narcissism in the Church, Francis explained that he did not like the word, but agreed there was an issue with it in the Church. More importantly, that narcissism is causing neglect in the Church. He vowed to address it.
"Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy," Francis said. He also explained that he was opposed to clericalism.
Pope Francis also commented on the saints. When he was asked which saint felt closest to his soul, Francis mentioned both Saint Paul and Saint Francis.
Pope Francis answered, "St. Paul is the one who laid down the cornerstones of our religion and our creed. You cannot be a conscious Christian without St. Paul. He translated the teachings of Christ into a doctrinal structure that, even with the additions of a vast number of thinkers, theologians and pastors, has resisted and still exists after two thousand years. Then there are Augustine, Benedict and Thomas and Ignatius. Naturally Francis. Do I need to explain why?"
The interview contains a number of other highlights and insights which are worthy of reading, including Pope Francis describing the moment he experienced a "great light" before accepting the responsibility to become pope.
Read the full interview here.
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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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