“The most serious evils currently afflicting the world are unemployment among young and the solitude in which the elderly are left. The elderly need care and companionship; the young need work and hope. However, they have neither the one nor the other, and the trouble is that they no longer looking for them. They have been enslaved by the present,” Pope Francis said to Eugenio Scalfari, in a long interview published Tuesday, 1 October, in the Italian daily La Repubblica and being republished by L’Osservatore Romano, “This, in my opinion, is the most urgent problem facing the Church.”
The interiew ranges: from saints to whom the Pope feels closest and who have informed hhis religious experience (“You can’t be concious Christians without St Paul”) to the role of mystics in the life of the Church; from memories of his election to the legacy of the Council; from the need for mutual listening to the responsibilities of Christians, today a minority in the world (“I think that being a minority is actually a strength. We need to be a leaven of life and of love. Our objective is not to proselytize but to listen to needs, desires, delusions, desperations, to hopes. To be poor among the poor.”)
“I am most certainly not Francis of Assisi and I don’t have his strength nor his sanctity. But I am the Bishop of Rome and the Pope ofthe Catholic world. I chose at the start to appoint a group of eight Cardinals to be my advisers. They are not courtiers but wise men with whom I share the same feelings. This is the beginning of a Church whose organization is not just vertical but horizontal. When Cardinal Martini spoke about this, putting emphasis on the Councils and the Synods, he knew all too well how long and difficult the road in that direction would be. It must be with prudence, but also with firmness and tenacity.”
So-called unbridled liberalism, concluded the Pope, does nothing but “make the strong stronger, the weak weaker and the excluded more excluded. We need great freedom, no discrimination, no demagoguery and much love. We need rules of conduct and even, if it is necessary, direct interventions by the State to correct the most intolerable inequalities.”
Do we truly pray? Without an abiding relationship with God, it is difficult to live an authentic and consistent Christian life.