Rome (AsiaNews) - Next year, "I will have to go to Asia, there are invitations from the Philippines and Sri Lanka, so I must see" said Pope Francis himself during an hour-long conversation with journalists during the return flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome.
The canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II, the IOR, "resistance" to curial reform, gay lobby in the Vatican, pastoral care for marriage and divorced and remarried. On the plane no holes barred questions from journalists covered all the "hot topics" relating to the Vatican, which news reports - and imaginations - have covered in recent times.
Holding the canonizations together "is a message to the Church: these two are good, they are good. But there is also the cause of Paul VI and Pope John Paul I, both are still in progress." Regarding a date "December 8 had been talked about as the date, but the problem is all the people who will want to come from Poland, not all of whom can fly. Many will take buses, and by December the roads are iced. We have to rethink the date. I've talked about it to Cardinal Dziwisz, who gave me a couple of possibilities. One is the feast of Christ the King this year, and the other is the feast of Divine Mercy next year. I have to talk to Cardinal Amato [prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints] about it.. I there is little time for the Christ the King, because the consistory will be September 30, and at the end of October there is little time. I do not know, I have to talk to the Cardinal on this, but I do not think it will be on December 8. "
The agenda of papal trips is yet to be determined. Of course there are'' Cagliari on Sept. 22, and to Assisi on Oct. 4. I'd like to be able to join Patriarch Bartholomew I [of Constantinople] in Jerusalem, who has invited me for the 50th anniversary of Paul VI.' The Israeli government has also invited me, and I believe the Palestinian Authorities has done the same. We're thinking about it, but I'm not sure yet. I think a trip to Asia can be done, especially because it's a continent Benedict XVI did not get to, though he wanted to ... maybe Sri Lanka, maybe the Philippines, I'm not sure.".
What will the future of the IOR be?. " I don't know yet how to fix the IOR [Institute for the Works of Religion, better known as the Vatican bank] ... some say it should be a sort of ethical bank, others that it should be an assistance fund, others want to close it altogether. I've heard all these voices, but I don't know. I will trust the work of the persons working on it, of the commission. The President of the IOR remains the same as before, instead the director and deputy director have resigned. I will not say how this story will end, and this is also a good thing, because we are human, we must find the means to deal with this well. What's important is transparency and honesty. It must be like this".
Again regarding the IOR, the Pope is asked about the fate of Msgr. Ricca appointed IOR prelate by Pope Francis. "As for Monsignor Rich, "I did what canon law requires, which is to conduct a preliminary investigation. We didn't find anything to confirm the things he was accused of, there was nothing. ... I'd like to add that many times we seem to seek out the sins of somebody's youth and publish them. We're not talking about crimes, which are something else. The abuse of minors, for instance, is a crime. But one can sin and then convert, and the Lord both forgives and forgets. And this is important for our lives: when we go to confession, and say "I have sinned in this," the Lord forgets. We don't have the right to refuse to forget. .. it's dangerous. The theology of sin is important. St. Peter committed one of the greatest sins, denying Christ, and yet they made him pope. Think about that. But, to answer your question concretely, in this case I carried out an investigatio previa, and did not find anything. "
Is there resistance in the Roman Curia to Reform? " If there's resistance [in the Vatican], I haven't seen it. It's true that I haven't done a lot yet, but so far I've found helpful, loyal people. I like it when someone says, 'I don't agree with you,' and I have found that. People will say, 'I'll say what I think, but you do what you want.' I've found that attitude in the Curia. That's better than those who say, 'That's great, that's great,' but then say the opposite later ... maybe people like that are there, but I haven't run into significant resistance".
Again with regards the Curia, there was talk of a gay lobby.
They say that there are not. But we must distinguish the fact that a person is gay by the fact of a lobby. If you lobby, all are not good. If a person is gay and seek the Lord and good will, who am I to judge? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that these people should not be discriminated against but accepted. The problem is not having these trends are brothers, the problem is to lobby: this trend or business, lobby politicians, lobby of the Masons, many lobby ... this is the most serious problem. "
There's a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I've never seen it on the Vatican ID card."
The Pope speaks often of mercy, will there be mercy for the divorced and remarried?
"This theme always comes up. I believe this is the time of mercy, a change of epoch. It's a kairos moment for mercy. In this change of epoch in which there are many problems, even in the Church, partly because of the witness that has been far from good of some priests. Clericalism has left many injured and we have to reach out to treat these injuries with mercy. The Church is the mother, and the Church must find mercy for all. And not only wait for the wounded, but go out to visit them. I think it is the time of mercy, as he John Paul II had guessed when he instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy. The divorced can take communion; it's the divorced in a second union who can not. It has to be seen within the larger pastoral context of marriage. When the council of eight cardinals meets Oct. 1-3, one of the things they'll consider is how to move forward with the pastoral care of marriage. My predecessor in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Quarracino always said, 'for me half of all marriages are void, because they go ahead with them without knowing it is forever, because they do it for social convenience, and so on'. The theme of nullity must be studied.
But how is Pope Francis finding it in Rome?
"In Buenos Aires I was happy as a priest and as a bishop, also in Rome, as Pope, I'm happy: if the Lord puts you there, doing His will makes you feel good." And what surprised him, cheered him up or upset him most in these first 4 months of his pontificate? "There were no big surprises. It was a surprise, perhaps, to discover that there are many good people in the Vatican. But good, good, good people". There has been no shortage of beautiful things. "For example, the Meeting with the Italian bishops on 23 May he was so beautiful. This was perhaps the best time, together with some audiences such as those seminarians and Jesuit college students. While the most painful moment was certainly the visit to Lampedusa ", a symbol of innocent suffering ("they abandon them - he said - and a few miles before the coast and often they have to reach land by themselves)". In front of such things personal problems pass into second place. "In recent weeks, the worst thing has been an attack of sciatica. I would not wish it on anyone".