Francis looses his zucchetto while exiting the jet in Manila.
"I’m constantly making statements, giving homilies. That’s magisterium. That’s what I think, not what the media say that I think. Check it out; it’s very clear. "
Concise Catholic Dictionary (1943)
Enjoy or cringe as you read and ponder upon Francis' latest teachings.
ON THE FLIGHT FROM COLOMBO TO MANILA
The Paris attacks, freedom of expression, responsibility: On the flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines Pope Francis responded to a question put to him by a French journalist, regarding the debate that has flared up around the cruel massacre of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists. The Pope explained that “reacting with violence is not right,” in fact, “killing in the name of God is an aberration”. But as far as the freedom of expression goes, “there is a limit”. Using the example of an insult made against one’s mother, it seemed the Pope was trying to say that when you touch what is most dear to a person, you can end up unleashing all sorts of rash reactions.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND RELIGION
I think that both religious freedom and the freedom of expression are fundamental human rights. Let’s be frank, take Paris! One thing is true: each person has the right to practice their own religion freely, without causing offence to others. And that is what we all want. Secondly, offending or waging war, killing in the name of one’s own religion, in the name of God, is not right. We are shocked by what is happening now, but let us think back to our history, how many religious wars have been fought! Think of the [Massacre] of St. Bartholomew (when Huguenots were killed by Catholics, Ed.). As you see, we also committed such sins but killing in the name of God is not right, it is an aberration. [Religion must be practiced] freely but without causing offence.
Regarding freedom of expression: not only does each person have the freedom and the right to say what they think for the common good, they have a duty to do so. If a member of parliament does not say what they think is the right path to take, they do not benefit the common good. So people must have this freedom but they must not cause offence, because while it is true that it is wrong to react with violence, if Mr. Gasbarri, who is a friend, insults my mother, that’s asking for a punch. Provoking and insulting other people’s faiths is not right. In one of his speeches (the Regensburg lecture delivered in 2006, Ed.), Pope Benedict XVI spoke of this post-positivist mentality, of a post-positivist metaphysics that led people to believe that religions or religious expressions are a kind of subculture. They are tolerated but they boil down to little, they are not part of a culture of enlightenment. And this is a legacy of the enlightement. So many people badmouth, make fun of and mock othe rpeople’s religions. They provoke and in doing so could get the kind of reaction Mr. Gasbarri would get if he said something bad about my mother. There is a limit, every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person. I used this example about limits to illustrate that freedom of expression has its limits, as in the example I gave of my mother.
MY SAFETY? I’M CONCERNED ABOUT THE SAFETY OF FAITHFUL
“The best way to react (to threats, Ed.) is with moderation, being moderate, humble, kind, without being aggressive. I am concerned about faithful, I really am, anbd I have spoke to Vatican security about this: Mr. Giani (the chief of Vatican police, Ed.) is on board this flight and he is in charge of this, he is well informed. I am quite concerned about this. But you know I have one weakness, I am quite reckless. Sometimes I ask myself: what if it happened to me? I have simply asked the Lord for the grace of not letting me come to harm because I am not courageous in the face of pain, I am very fearful.”
KAMIKAZES AND CHILDREN
“Perhaps I am being disrespectful, but I am inclined to say that behind every suicide attack there is an element of human imbalance, I don’t know whether it is a mental imbalance but it is human. There is something that is not quite right with that person, that person has an imbalance in their life. They give their life but they do not give it in a good way. There are so many people who work, like the missionaries for example: they give their life, but in order to build something. Suicide killers, on the other hand, give their life in order to destroy. There is something not right here. I supervised a dissertation on Japanese kamikazes written by an Alitalia pilot. I was correcting the method part but the phenomenon is not understood fully and it is not only an Eastern phenomenon, it is linked to totalitarian and dictatorial systems that destroy life or the posibility of a future. But as I said before, this is not an exclusively Eastern phenomenon. Regarding the use of children in attacks (here the Pope was referring to young female suicide killers in Nigeria and the shocking video of the little boy who was filmed killing an IS victim Ed.): they are used everywhere for so many things, they are exploited at work, used as slaves and sexually abused. Some years ago some members of the Argentinean senate and I wanted to launch a campaign in top hotels to announce that in those hotels children were not exploited to serve tourists, but we were not able to… On the occasions I visited Germany I sometimes came across articles that talked about sex tourism in parts of South-East Asia and this involved children as well. Children are also used in suicide attacks. I dare not say more.”
ANOTHER INTERRELIGIOUS MEETING IN ASSISI
“It was suggested that another interreligious meeting against violence be held in Assisi. I know that some are working on this. I spoke to Cardinal Tauran and I know it is an issue that other religions are also concerned about.”
THE POPE’S VISIT TO THE BUDDHIST TEMPLE
“The monk who is in charge of the temple managed to get himself an invitation from the government to go to the airport. He is also a good friend of Cardinal Ranjith’s and when he greeted me he asked me to visit the temple. I spoke to the cardinal but there wasn’t enough time. When I arrived, I had to cancel my meeting with the bishops because I wasn’t feeling too well, after the 29-kilometre journey I was exhausted. When I got back from Madhu yesterday the opportunity presented itself. I telephoned and made my way there. The temple holds the relics of two of Buddha’s disciples. They had been in England before and the monks managed to have them returned to them. He came to the airport and I went to see him at home. Then, yesterday, I saw something I never expected to see in Madhu: there were not only Catholics there but also Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus. All of them go there to pray and they say they receive graces. Among the people, who are never wrong, there is something that unites them and if they are united in such a natural way as to go and pray together in a temple that is Christian but not only… How could I not go to the Buddhist temple? What happened at Madhu is very important, it reflected the sense of interreligiosity experienced in Sri Lanka. There are some fundamentalist groups but they are not with the people, they are theological elites… People may have once said that Buddhists went to hell but so did Protestants. When I was a child we were taught that they went to hell.
“I don’t know if humans who mistreat nature are fully responsible for climate change but they are largely responsible for it. We have taken hold of nature, of mother Earth, to some extent. An elderly farmer once said to me: God forgives always, sometimes he forgives humans but he never forgives nature. We have exploited nature too much. I remember hearing bishops at Aparecida (at the meeting held by Latin American episcopates in 2007, Ed.) speak about deforestation in the Amazon, I didn’t really understand much. Then, five years ago, a human rights commission and I sent out an appeal to stop a terrible deforestation project in northern Argentina. Then there is the one-crop system: farmers know that after cultivating wheat for three years they have to change the crop type for a year to regenerate the soil. Today soy crops are cultivated until the soil is depleted. Mankind has gone overboard. Thankfully today a lot of people are talking about this and I would like to remind you of my beloved brother Bartholomew (the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Ed.) who has written a great deal on this topic and I have read a lot of what he has written to prepare my encyclical. The theologian Romano Guardini talked about a second “inculture”, which is when you take possession of creation, turning culture into “inculture”. Cardinal Turkson and his team have presented the first draft of the new encyclical. I then worked on this and now I have prepared the third draft which I have sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Secretariat of State and the theologian of the Papal Household so that they can make sure I am not talking nonsense. I will be taking a whole week off in March to finish it. I twill then be translated. I think that if all goes well, it should be out by June-July. The important thing is to ensure that there is an interval between its publication and the next climate meeting in Paris. I was disappointed by the last conference held in Peru. Let’s hope they are a bit more courageous in Paris. I think this is another issue that needs to be discussed with other religions and it is important for there to be an agreement based on a common feeling. I have talked about this with representatives of other religions and at least two theologians have already done this: it will not, however, be a common declaration, meetings with religions will come later.”
men and women who were great evangelisers. The first was Peter Fabre, a European evangeliser who died in the streets, evangelising. Then there were Canada’s evangelisers who founded the local Church. Then there was the Brazilian saint who founded São Paulo and now José Vaz, evangeliser of old Ceylon. In September I will canonize Junipero Serra in the United States. All these figures were powerful evangelisers and are in tune with the spirituality of the Evangelii Gaudium.
or Gerard O'Connell's version of the in-flight interview from America, the National Catholic Review, 15 January 2015.