06/13/2014, 00.00
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Pope: A pastor above all else and I hope to be remembered as a good man

In an interview, Francis addresses issues such as peace in the Middle East, violence in the name of God, the Church and the poor, the reform of the Curia, Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust. And the World Cup, in which "the Brazilians have asked me to be neutral."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis considers himself a pastor above all else, "it's in me to serve people", "but I am also Pope".  Indeed, a Pope who turns off the light in order not to waste money, judges the level of youth unemployment "barbaric"  and "a sin of idolatry," the fact that money is at the heart of the economic system, to the point that "they manufacture and sell weapons" to "balance the budgets of idolatrous economies".

It's the Pope himself to say as much in an interview published today by the Spanish newspaper "La Vanguardia", which deals with themes such as peace in the Middle East, violence in the name of God, the Church and the poor, the reform of the Curia Pius XII and the Holocaust. And the World Cup, on which "the Brazilians have asked me to be neutral and I will keep my word, and I must keep my word because Brazil and Argentina are age old adversaries'".

Thus, "violence in the name of God" is a "contradiction" that "does not correspond to our time." But fundamentalism is a risk present in all religions.

The Pope then speaks of the "Invocation for Peace" with the Israeli and Palestinian presidents. Earlier in the Vatican "99% said it would never happen, then that became 1%". It was "not a political act," he highlights, but a "religious act" to "open a window on the world." Francis also denounces anti-Semitism: "It is madness to deny the Holocaust." Still on the subject of anti-Semitism, "I cannot explain why it happens, but I think that, in general, anti-Semitism is more tied to the right, it finds itself more at home in the political right than in the left, no?".

He states that the opening of the secret archives regarding his predecessor Pacelli will clarify al lot. And he gets an "existential rash" when he sees that "everyone blames the Church and Pius XII, and forget the great powers." "I 'm not saying - he adds - that 'poor Pius XII' didn't make mistakes: was better to loudly condemn with the risk of further loss of life or try to save lives?". Eugenio Pacelli, he recalls, "led the Church during the Second World War and hid Jews in many convents in Rome and other Italian cities, and in the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo in his room, in his bed, 42 children were born, children of Jews and other persecuted refugees there". "Perhaps - he adds - it would be more correct to say we cannot exist without recognizing the Jewish roots of Christianity". "I do not speak of Jews as the Semitic race, but in the religious sense. I think that interfaith dialogue will serve to deepen this, at the root." So "a Jewish Christianity and the flourishing of a Christian Judaism today is a challenge, a hot potato, but we can live as brothers". "I pray every day - he reveals - the Divine Office with the Psalms of David. My prayer is Jewish, and then I have the Eucharist that is Christian".

To a question about the Church and the poor, "poverty and humility - he says - are at the heart of the Gospel," in "theological sense, not sociological." "We cannot understand the Gospel without poverty, but must be distinguished from pauperism".

With regard to the reform of the Curia, "I have no bright ideas or personal project." "What I am doing is trying to carry out on what the cardinal's reflected in the general congregations before the conclave." "A fixed point was that the next Pope should have a close and continuous relation with the outside world, that is, with a team of consultants who do not live in the Vatican. And I created the Council of Eight, eight cardinals from all continents and a coordinator that meets here every two or three months. Now, July 1 we have four days of work to make the changes that the same cardinals are asking for.  It's not mandatory that we do it but it would be unwise not to listen to those who know things ".

And how would you like to be remembered? "I've never thought about it, however, I love it when one remembers someone else and says: 'He was a good man, he did what he could, he was not so bad." "The pastoral dimension of my vocation is the strongest. It's in me to be at the service of people. I switch off lights so as not to waste money, for example. These are things a pastor does. But I also feel  like the Pope. This helps me to do things seriously. My co-workers are very serious and professional. I'm getting help to do my duty. You cannot play at being a parish Pope. It would be immature. When a head of state comes, I have to meet him with the dignity and the protocol he or she deserves. It's true that I have my problems with protocol, but I have to respect it.'' As for the tendency to disrupt the security protocol, "I know what can happen, but it's in God's hands I remember that in Brazil I had prepared a popemobile closed with glass, but I cannot greet people and tell them that I love them in a sardine can, even if made of glass. To me this is a wall. It 's true that anything can happen, but let's face it, at my age I do not have much to lose. "


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