In an exclusive interview conducted by Andrea Tornielli (Vatican Insider) on Dec. 14, 2013, La Stampa published the remarks that Pope Francis I made on a wide range of topics titled Never Be Afraid of Tenderness.
The interview was nearly 90 minutes in length. This interview was presented in a question and answer format. It included a discussion of the true meaning of Christmas and on the suffering of many people. Pope Francis is not shy about revisiting previous decisions or setting new directions for the Catholic Church.
When asked about the significance of Christmas, the Pope had this to say:
“It (Christmas) speaks of tenderness and hope. When God meets us he tells us two things. The first thing he says is: have hope. God always opens doors, he never closes them. He is the father who opens doors for us. The second thing he says is: don’t be afraid of tenderness.”
The discussion on the suffering of the poor came back to comments made by Pope Francis about capitalism in his Evangelii Gaudium that has some US journalists and commentators calling the Pope a Marxist.
“The Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended.”
The Pope went on to make an extended statement regarding his previous exhortation for the world to do better in reducing the suffering of the poor and the weak.
“The only specific quote I used was the one regarding the “trickle-down theories” which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and social inclusiveness in the world. The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor.”
When asked about whether he was trying to unite Catholicism with other Christian religions, the Pope responded with a very unique perspective.
“Yes, for me ecumenism is a priority. Today there is an ecumenism of blood. In some countries they kill Christians for wearing a cross or having a Bible and before they kill them they do not ask them whether they are Anglican, Lutheran, Catholic or Orthodox. Their blood is mixed. To those who kill (us) we are Christians. We are united in blood, even though we have not yet managed to take necessary steps towards unity between us and perhaps the time has not yet come.”
There is definitely a strong bias by Muslims throughout the world to fight vigorously to prevent attempts to convert those following Islam to Christianity. Given the prior focus of Jesuits to expand the Catholic Church through missionary work, the persecuting and killing of Catholic priests can be expected to continue.
It would be good to include all religions throughout the world in this ecumenism effort. Spiritualism holds that the Creator includes all religions so long as there is regard for a higher power, which is called Infinite Intelligence, and the Golden Rule that requires consideration of the needs of others as well as those of one’s self.
The attempt to hold all religions as sacred and valid is going to hit a wall with fundamentalists of all faiths. There is an irony in the situation that has the extremists of many religions unified by their common goal of snuffing out all religions except their own.
The statement “My God is better than your god” must have the Creator of All That Is expressing a Cosmic Giggle. Nevertheless, Pope Francis’ goal of uniting Christians of all denominations is a step in the right direction in terms of accepting the beliefs of other religions.
Whether you are a Catholic, a member of any other religious group, or an agnostic or atheist, this article provide an intimate insight about an important religious leader. Pope Francis displays honest humility regarding being chosen as a Pope, and his actions validate his statements with regard to making the Catholic Church more inclusive.
The Pope is much more than a liberal or a Marxist. He is a human being in a very positive sense.