On the return flight from Azerbaijan Francis responds to questions about his upcoming trips, peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the next consistory, ecumenism and the Nobel Peace Prize. "Relations between the Vatican and China has to be fixed once and we're speaking about this slowly but slow things always go well. Fast things don't go well".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - It’s one thing is to welcome homosexuals, another to indoctrinate gender at school said Pope Francis, speaking to reporters during the return flight from Azerbaijan. He was further explaining his previous statement on gender theory and the fact that "in my life as a priest and bishop, even as Pope, I have accompanied people with homosexual tendencies "
In nearly an hour of conversation, the Pope also responded to questions about his next trips, peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the next consistory, ecumenism and the Nobel Peace Prize. He said that next year he will go to Fatima, "almost certainly to India and Bangladesh", "Africa is not safe, it depends on the political situation and the war", in Colombia "when the peace process comes out, I would like to go. When everything is locked in. When the plebiscite wins. When everything is absolutely certain, when they can't turn back. "
And China? "the relations between the Vatican and China has to be fixed once and we're speaking about this slowly but slow things always go well. Fast things don't go well. The Chinese nation has my highest esteem. The day before yesterday, for example, there was a congress - two days, I believe - in the academy of sciences on Laudato Si. And there was a Chinese delegation from the president there too. And the Chinese president sent me a gift. They are good relations... ".
Regarding homosexuals, "I have accompanied people with homosexual tendencies, I have also met homosexual persons, accompanied them, brought them closer to the Lord, as an apostle, and I have never abandoned them. People must be accompanied as Jesus accompanies them, when a person who has this condition arrives before Jesus, Jesus surely doesn't tell them 'go away because you are homosexual.' What I said is that wickedness which today is done in the indoctrination of gender theory...a French father told me that he was speaking with his children at the table, he and his wife were Catholics, 'rosewater Catholics,' but Catholics! And he asked his 10-year-old son: 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'- 'a girl.' The father realized that at school they were teaching him gender theory, and this is against the natural things. One thing is that a person has this tendency, this condition and even changes their sex, but it's another thing to teach this in line in schools in order to change the mentality. This is what I call ideological colonization. Last year I received a letter from a Spaniard who told me his story as a child, a young man, he was a girl, a girl who suffered so much because he felt he felt like a boy, but was physically a girl. He told his mother and the mom…(the girl) was around 22 years old said that she would like to do the surgical intervention and all of those things. And the mother said not to do it while she was still alive. She was elderly and she died soon after. She had the surgery and an employee of a ministry in the city of Spain went to the bishop, who accompanied (this person) a lot. Good bishop. I spent time accompanying this man. Then (the man) got married, he changed his civil identity, got married and wrote me a letter saying that for him it would be a consolation to come with his wife, he who was she, but him! I received them: they were happy and in the neighborhood where he lived there was an elderly priest in his 80s, an elderly pastor who left the parish and helped the sisters in the parish. And there was the new (priest). When the new one he would yell from the sidewalk: 'you'll go to hell!' When (the new priest) came across the old one, he would say: 'How long has it been since you confessed? Come, come, let's to so that I can confess you and you can receive communion.' Understood? Life is life and things must be taken as they come. Sin is sin. And tendencies or hormonal imbalances have many problems and we must be careful not to say that everything is the same. Let's go party. No, that no, but in every case I accept it, I accompany it, I study it, I discern it and I integrate it. This is what Jesus would do today! Please don't say: 'the Pope sanctifies transgenders.' Please, eh! Because I see the covers of the papers. Is there any doubt as to what I said? I want to be clear! It's moral problem. It's a human problem and it must be resolved always can be with the mercy of God, with the truth like we spoke about in the case of marriage by reading all of Amoris Laetitia, but always with an open heart".
Francis also offers the same approach to the subject of divorce, families wounded and the attack on the family. "the image of God is not man, it is man with the woman together, they are one flesh when they join in marriage: this is the truth. It is true that in this culture conflicts and many problems are not well managed and even philosophies of today: I do this and when I get tired I do another, then I do a third, then I do a fourth, and this is the ‘world war’ you spoke of against marriage. We must be careful not to let these ideas enter. But first, marriage is the image of God, man and woman, one flesh. When you destroy that, you dirty or disfigure the image of God. Then Amoris laetitia talks about how to deal with these cases, how to treat families’ wounds, and mercy enters there. There is a beautiful prayer of the Church that we prayed last week. It said this: God who so marvelously has created the world and the more marvelously recreated it (i.e., with redemption, with mercy)".
Another issue was ecumenism. Francis was touched by Patriarch Ilia II, "a man of God" who has "moved" him. The path of ecumenism is to "pray for one another. This is important: prayer. And second, do things together: there are poor people, we work together with the poor; there is this and this problem, we can do it together? We do it together; There are migrants? We do things together ... We do things good for others. Together. This we can do. And this is the path of ecumenism ".
How can a permanent peace be reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan? "I believe that the one way is dialogue, a sincere dialogue without things held under the table. Sincere and face to face. A sincere negotiation. And if you cannot arrive at this, but have the courage to go to an international tribunal, go to The Hague, for example, and submit to an international judgement. I do not see another path! The other way is war, and war always destroys; with war all is lost".
And will he visit the Italian earthquake victims? "I there are three possible dates that have been proposed. Two are countable and I don't remember them well but the third I remember well, the first Sunday of Advent. I've said that when I return I'll choose the date. There are three. I need to choose. And I'll do it privately, alone, as a priest, as a bishop, as Pope, but alone, that's how I want to do it. I would like to feel, to be close to the people".
The US Catholics should choose between a candidate who is distant from Church teaching on many aspects and another who has made statements against migrants ... " In electoral campaigns, I never say a word. The people are sovereign. I'll just say a word: Study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience. Then, I'll leave the issue and I speak of a fiction, because I don't want to speak to this concrete issue. When it happens that in whatever country here are 2, 3, 4 candidates that no one likes, that means that the political life of the nation perhaps is too politicized but perhaps it doesn't have that much politics.
The Archbishop of Rouen also announced that the Pope has authorized the beatification of Father Hamel waving the required five years. "We will carry out the studies and he will give the final news. But, the intention is to go on this line, to make the necessary research and to see if there are the motives to do it".
When will he create new cardinals, and what will his criteria be? "By year end, or early next year. The list is long but there are only 13 places. We must seek a balance. I like that you see, the universality of the Church in the College of Cardinals, the five continents, and not just the European center. "