Uh oh, another Francis interview with the revolutionary atheist, Eugenio Scalfari. We can already hear the conservatives in the Novus Ordo lamenting...it doesn’t count! Scalfari doesn’t take notes or record his interviews, he does them all from memory! Well, whoopee! Isn’t it possible that Scalfari is 100% accurate with his published interviews, after all the man might possess a phenomenal photographic memory. Even if he doesn’t, Francis keeps going back to Eugenio Scalfari for interview after interview after interview ad nauseam. And remember, Francis has also repeatedly stated that the only newspaper which he reads every day is La Repubblica where Scalfari often publishes his pieces with Francis. So the Novus Ordo conservatives can’t play the Francis is ignorant damage control card. Without further ado, we present Scalfari’s interview with Francis below. This interview was published on 11 November 2016 in La Repubblica and also in the L'Osservatore Romano of 12 November 2016 on page 5.
Pope Francis: "Trump? I do not judge. I care only if he makes the poor suffer"
In his encounter with Eugenio Scalfari the Pope urges Catholics to become engaged in politics again: "Not for power but to tear down walls and inequalities"
Eugenio Scalfari — 11 novembre 2016
I AM WRITING this article the day after Donald Trump's unexpected election victory over Hillary Clinton. But my topic is not what has happened in America but a long-awaited invitation for a meeting with Pope Francis. I had a long phone call with him the previous week because His Holiness wanted to discuss the visit that he would have three days later in Sweden with the Lutheran World Federation and the reform that gave rise to the Lutheran churches half a millennium ago. I refer to this conversation just to explain that although I am honoured to receive frequent phone calls from Pope Francis, we have not met in person for over a year. So I was very pleased to receive his invitation.
We met on Monday 7th and were together for over an hour. Two days earlier, on Saturday 5th, the Pope had met with representatives of the Popular Movements. These are movements with hundreds of thousands of adherents in the main Christian countries. Pope Francis’s speech to these volunteers of the faith takes up six pages of [Vatican daily] L'Osservatore Romano. Of course, when we met two days later, I had already read the full text of that speech. I have often written that Francis is a revolutionary, but this was beyond revolution... And now let's see how and why.
We embraced each other after a long time. “You look well,” he said.
You also look well, despite your continuing hardships.
«It is the Lord who decides.»
And “our sister bodily death”.
The conversation was immediately profound.
Your Holiness - I asked him - what do you think of Donald Trump?
“I do not pass judgment on people and politicians, I simply want to understand the suffering that their approach causes the poor and excluded”.
What is your main concern at the moment?
“The question of refugees and immigrants. Only a small proportion of them are Christians, but this does not change the situation as far as we are concerned, or their suffering and distress. The causes are many and we are doing everything possible to remove them. Unfortunately, often these policies are opposed by populations that are afraid of losing jobs and of lower wages. Money is against the poor as well as against immigrants and refugees, but there are also poor people in rich countries who fear the arrival of their fellows from poor countries. It is a vicious circle and it must be broken. We must break down the walls that divide us: we must try to increase well-being and make it more widespread, but to achieve this we need to break down walls and build bridges that allow us to reduce inequality and increase freedom and rights. More rights and greater freedom".
I asked Pope Francis if the reasons that force people to emigrate will be exhausted sooner or later. It is hard to understand why a man, a family or entire communities and peoples want to abandon their homeland, the places where they were born, their language.
You, Your Holiness, through those bridges, will facilitate the re-uniting of those desperate people, but inequalities are born in rich countries. There are laws that try to reduce the gap but they do not have much effect. Will this phenomenon never end?
“You have written and spoken several times about this problem. One of the phenomena that inequality encourages is the movement of peoples from one country to another, from one continent to another. After two, three, four generations, these peoples are integrated and their diversity tends to completely disappear".
I call it a universal miscegenation in the positive sense of the term.
“Bravo, that is the right word. I do not know if it will be universal but it will be more prevalent than today. What we want is a battle against inequality, this is the greatest evil that exists in the world. It is money that creates it and that goes against those measures that try to make wealth more widespread and thus promote equality".
You told me some time ago that the precept, “Love your neighbour as thyself” had to change, given the dark times that we are going through, and become “more than thyself.” So you yearn for a society where equality dominates. This, as you know, is the programme of Marxist socialism and then of communism. Are you therefore thinking of a Marxist type of society?
“It it has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians. Christ spoke of a society where the poor, the weak and the marginalized have the right to decide. Not demagogues, not Barabbas, but the people, the poor, whether they have faith in a transcendent God or not. It is they who must help to achieve equality and freedom".
Your Holiness, I have always thought and written that you are a revolutionary and even a prophet. But it seems that now you would like the Popular Movements and especially the poor to enter directly into politics proper.
“Yes, that is correct. Not petty politics – squabbling over power, selfishness, demagogy, money – but higher, creative, politics, the politics of great visions. That which Aristotle wrote about".
I saw that in your speech to the Popular Movements last Saturday you called the Ku Klux Klan, and the similar but opposite Black Panthers, shameful movements.
But you said Martin Luther King was admirable. Was he another prophet who made an impression because of what he said in a free America?
“Yes, I quoted him because I admire him".
I read the quotation; I think it is worth recalling for those reading this account of our meeting.
“When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system [...] hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil".
And now let’s return to politics and your wish that the poor and the excluded transform that politics into a democratic will to realise the ideals and the will of the popular movements. You advocated an interest in politics because it is Christ who wants it. “The rich must pass through the eye of a needle”. Christ wants it not because he is the son of God but above all because he is the son of man. But there will be a clash, power is at stake, and power, as you have said yourself, implies war. So popular movements must wage a war, albeit political, without weapons and without bloodshed?
“I have never thought of war and weapons. Blood yes, may be shed, but it will be Christians who are martyred, as is happening almost all over the world at the hands of fundamentalists and ISIS terrorist executioners. They are terrible and the Christians are their victims".
But you, Holy Father, know that many countries are also using weapons to defeat ISIS. Moreover, weapons are also being used by Jews against Arabs, and even amongst themselves.
“Well, it is not that kind of war that Christian popular movements must wage. We Christians have always been martyrs, yet our faith over the centuries has conquered much of the world. Of course, there have been wars supported by the Church against other religions, and there have even been wars within our religion. The most cruel was the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre and unfortunately many similar events. But they occurred when the various religions, including ours, sometimes more than others, placed temporal power above faith and mercy".
Yet you, Your Holiness, encourage popular movements to enter politics.Those who enter into politics will inevitably clash with their opponents. It may be a peaceful conflict, but conflict there is, and history tells us that in the conflicts the conquest of power is at stake. Without power you cannot win.
“You are forgetting that there is also love. Often love convinces and thus wins. There are a billion and a half Catholics, eight hundred million Protestants of various denominations; three hundred thousand Orthodox Christians, then there are other denominations like Anglicans, Waldensians and Copts. All together there are two and a half billion Christian believers, perhaps more. Will it take weapons and wars? No. Martyrs? Yes, many".
And so you have gained power.
«We have spread the faith following the example of Jesus Christ. He was the martyr of martyrs and gave humanity the seed of faith. But I know better than to ask martyrdom of those who grapple with a politics oriented towards the poor, for equality and freedom. This politics is something different from faith and there are many poor people who have no faith. Nevertheless, they have urgent and vital needs, and we must support them as we support all the others. As we can and as we know".
As I listen to you, I am ever more convinced of my opinion of you: that papacies such as yours have been few and far between. But you have many opponents inside your Church.
“I would not call them opponents. Faith unites us all. Of course, all of us as individuals see the same things in different ways. Objectively the picture is the same, but subjectively it is different. We have said it many times, you and I".
Your Holiness, I have kept you too long and will leave you now.
At that point we said goodbye with an affectionate embrace. I told him to get some rest now and then and he replied: "You too should rest, because a non-believer like you should be as far from ‘bodily death’ as possible".
It was the 7 November.
Translated by Kathryn Wallace
Screenshot of page 5, 12 November 2016, L'Osservatore Romano
Screenshot of front page of 11 November 2016, La Repubblica