(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has appealed for respect for Jerusalem’s status qu o according to the pertinent United Nations Resolutions regarding the city.
Speaking after his catechesis to the crowds in the Paul VI Hall during the weekly General Audience , the Pope said “my thoughts go to Jerusalem and I cannot keep silent my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the past days”.
Listen to the report by Philippa Hitchen :
“At the same time, he continued, I would like to make a heartfelt appeal for everyone’s commitment to respect the city’s status quo, in conformity with the pertinent United Nations Resolutions”.
The Pope’s words of concern came on Wednesday ahead of an expected announcement by US President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Arab leaders have warned the move will create turmoil and trigger violence.
Describing Jerusalem as unique city which is “Holy for Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Sites of their respective religions”, the Pope said it has a special vocation for peace.
“I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts” he said.
Earlier in the morning the Pope called for dialogue that respects the rights of everyone in the Holy Land and expressed his hope for “peace and prosperity” for the Palestinian people during a previously scheduled meeting with a Palestinian delegation of religious and intellectual leaders in the Vatican.
(from Vatican Radio)…
In the life of a Christian, humility is an indispensable quality that is needed in order to allow the gifts of the Holy Spiri t to grow. This was the reflection of Pope Francis in his homily at Mass, Tuesday morning, in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. Drawing inspiration from the Prophet Isaiah, the Pope said that every Christian is like “a small shoot on which the Spirit of the Lord rests, the spirit of wisdom and intelligence, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord “. “These,” the Pope said, “are the gifts of the Holy Spirit which grow from the smallness of the bud to the fullness of the Spirit. This is the promise, this is the Kingdom of God” and “the life of the Christian,” he stressed.
Listen to our report:
The Pope said that the task of a Christian is to be aware that each of us is a “sprout of that root which must grow with the power of the Holy Spirit, to the fullness of the Holy Spirit in us.” And our task, he said is to safeguard this sprout, this growth which is the Spirit.” The Holy Father said this is done by adopting a lifestyle of a Christian that resembles Christ , which is the path of humility.
The Holy Father said it takes faith and humility to believe that this bud, this small gift will grow to the fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He said, it takes humility to believe that the Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, as the day’s Gospel says, has hidden these things from the wise and the learned and revealed them to the little ones. Humility means to be small, like the sprout that grows little by little to the fullness of life through the power of Holy Spirit.
The Pope further explained that being humble does not mean being polite, courteous or closing one’s eyes in prayer. Being humble means being able to accept humiliations. “ Humility without humiliation,” he stressed, “ is not humility. ” A humble man or a woman is one who is able to endure humiliations like Jesus whom the Pope described as “the great humiliated.”
Pope Francis recalled the example of many saints “who not only accepted humiliations but asked for them” in order to resemble Jesus. The Pope concluded his homily urging that the Lord “grant us this grace to safeguard this smallness towards the fullness of the Spirit without forgetting the root and by accepting humiliation.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has revealed his prayer intention for the month of December, which is “for the elderly”.
In a video message explaining the prayer petition, the Pope said “a people that does not take care of grandparents, that does not treat them well, has no future.”
He added that the “elderly have wisdom, they are entrusted with a great responsibility: to transmit their life experience, their family history, the history of a community, of a people.”
The Pope prayed: “Let us keep in mind our elders so that sustained by families and institutions, they may with their wisdom and experience collaborate in the education of new generations.”
Care and respect for the elderly has been a prominent issue addressed by Pope Francis throughout his pontificate. Last year he hosted a meeting marking National Grandparents’ Day in Italy and in 2015 he gave two Wednesday audience catechises on the elderly, pointing out that old age has a grace and a mission” and is “a true vocation from the Lord.”
The monthly videos detailing the Pontiff’s prayer intentions are promoted by the “Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network,” an organisation dedicated to assisting the mission of the Church and addressing the challenges facing humanity. The group encourages Catholics from around the world to submit ideas for prayer petitions and presents a selection of them for the Pope to choose for each month.
(Richard Paul Marsden)
Click below to watch the video message:
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday released his message for the 2018 World Day of Prayer for Vocations, reflecting on the three aspects of every vocation: listening, discerning, and living.
The 55th recurrence of the Day for Vocations is to be commemorated next year on 22 April.
Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:
Listening, discerning, and living: these lie at the heart of Pope Francis’ message for next year’s World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
The Holy Father said 2018 is a special year for vocations, because the Synod of Bishops will reflect on young people, especially “the relationship between young people, faith, and vocation”.
Pope Francis reminded Christians that God never ceases to call men and women to follow Him.
“We are not victims of chance or swept up in a series of unconnected events; on the contrary, our life and our presence in this world are the fruit of a divine vocation,” he said.
He said the mystery of the Incarnation shows that God constantly “comes to encounter us”, even in troubled times.
“In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness.”
A listening heart
Pope Francis made it clear that “God comes silently” and that, without a listening heart, His voice can be “drowned out” by the distractions of daily life.
“Nowadays listening is becoming more and more difficult, immersed as we are in a society full of noise, overstimulated and bombarded by information… This prevents us from pausing and enjoying the taste of contemplation, reflecting serenely on the events of our lives, going about our work with confidence in God’s loving plan, and making a fruitful discernment.”
He said Christians need “to listen carefully to his word and the story of his life, but also to be attentive to the details of our own daily lives”.
Turning to spiritual discernment, Pope Francis said this is “a process by which a person makes fundamental choices, in dialogue with the Lord and listening to the voice of the Spirit, starting with the choice of one’s state in life”.
He said the Christian vocation always has a prophetic dimension, since current events in a person’s life and in the world must be examined “in the light of God’s promise”.
“Every Christian ought to grow in the ability to “read within” his or her life, and to understand where and to what he or she is being called by the Lord, in order to carry on his mission,” he said.
Living one’s vocation
Pope Francis then added a note of urgency.
“Vocation is today! The Christian mission is now,” he said.
“Each one of us is called – whether to the lay life in marriage, to the priestly life in the ordained ministry, or to a life of special consecration – in order to become a witness of the Lord, here and now.”
Everyone is called to live their vocation, the Pope said, and there is no reason to fear God’s call, even to a life consecrated to God’s kingdom.
“It is beautiful – and a great grace – to be completely and forever consecrated to God and the service of our brothers and sisters.”
Please find below the official English translation of the Pope’s message:
Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 2018 World Day of Vocations
Dear Brothers and Sisters.
Next October, the Fifteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will meet to discuss the theme of young people and in particular the relationship between young people, faith and vocation. There we will have a chance to consider more deeply how, at the centre of our life, is the call to joy that God addresses to us and how this is “God’s plan for men and women in every age” (SYNOD OF BISHOPS, XV ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Young People, The Faith and Vocational Discernment, Introduction).
The Fifty-fifth World Day of Prayer for Vocations once again proclaims this good news to us, and in a decisive manner. We are not victims of chance or swept up in a series of unconnected events; on the contrary, our life and our presence in this world are the fruit of a divine vocation!
Even amid these troubled times, the mystery of the Incarnation reminds us that God continually comes to encounter us. He is God-with-us, who walks along the often dusty paths of our lives. He knows our anxious longing for love and he calls us to joy. In the diversity and the uniqueness of each and every vocation, personal and ecclesial, there is a need to listen, discern and live this word that calls to us from on high and, while enabling us to develop our talents, makes us instruments of salvation in the world and guides us to full happiness.
These three aspects – listening, discerning and living – were also present at beginning of Jesus’ own mission, when, after his time of prayer and struggle in the desert, he visited his synagogue of Nazareth. There, he listened to the word, discerned the content of the mission entrusted to him by the Father, and proclaimed that he came to accomplish it “today” (Lk 4:16-21).
The Lord’s call – let it be said at the outset – is not as clear-cut as any of those things we can hear, see or touch in our daily experience. God comes silently and discreetly, without imposing on our freedom. Thus it can happen that his voice is drowned out by the many worries and concerns that fill our minds and hearts.
We need, then, to learn how to listen carefully to his word and the story of his life, but also to be attentive to the details of our own daily lives, in order to learn how to view things with the eyes of faith, and to keep ourselves open to the surprises of the Spirit.
We will never discover the special, personal calling that God has in mind for us if we remain enclosed in ourselves, in our usual way of doing things, in the apathy of those who fritter away their lives in their own little world. We would lose the chance to dream big and to play our part in the unique and original story that God wants to write with us.
Jesus too, was called and sent. That is why he needed to recollect himself in silence. He listened to and read the word in the synagogue, and with the light and strength of the Holy Spirit he revealed its full meaning, with reference to his own person and the history of the people of Israel.
Nowadays listening is becoming more and more difficult, immersed as we are in a society full of noise, overstimulated and bombarded by information. The outer noise that sometimes prevails in our cities and our neighbourhoods is often accompanied by our interior dispersion and confusion. This prevents us from pausing and enjoying the taste of contemplation, reflecting serenely on the events of our lives, going about our work with confidence in God’s loving plan, and making a fruitful discernment.
Yet, as we know, the kingdom of God comes quietly and unobtrusively (cf. Lk 17:21), and we can only gather its seeds when, like the prophet Elijah, we enter into the depths of our soul and are open to the imperceptible whisper of the divine breeze (cf. 1 Kg 19:11-13).
When Jesus, in the synagogue of Nazareth, reads the passage of the prophet Isaiah, he discerns the content of the mission for which he was sent, and presents it to those who awaited the Messiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour (Lk 4:18-19).
In the same way, each of us can discover his or her own vocation only through spiritual discernment. This is “a process by which a person makes fundamental choices, in dialogue with the Lord and listening to the voice of the Spirit, starting with the choice of one’s state in life” (SYNOD OF BISHOPS, XV ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment, II, 2).
Thus we come to discover that Christian vocation always has a prophetic dimension. The Scriptures tell us that the prophets were sent to the people in situations of great material insecurity and of spiritual and moral crisis, in order to address in God’s name a message of conversion, hope and consolation. Like a whirlwind, the prophet unsettles the false tranquility of consciences that have forgotten the word of the Lord. He discerns events in the light of God’s promise and enables people to glimpse the signs of dawn amid the dark shadows of history.
Today too, we have great need of discernment and of prophecy. We have to resist the temptations of ideology and negativity, and to discover, in our relationship with the Lord, the places, the means and situations through which he calls us. Every Christian ought to grow in the ability to “read within” his or her life, and to understand where and to what he or she is being called by the Lord, in order to carry on his mission.
Lastly, Jesus announces the newness of the present hour, which will enthuse many and harden the heart of others. The fullness of time has come, and he is the Messiah proclaimed by Isaiah and anointed to liberate prisoners, to restore sight to the blind and to proclaim the merciful love of God to every creature. Indeed, Jesus says that “today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21).
The joy of the Gospel, which makes us open to encountering God and our brothers and sisters, does not abide our slowness and our sloth. It will not fill our hearts if we keep standing by the window with the excuse of waiting for the right time, without accepting this very day the risk of making a decision. Vocation is today! The Christian mission is now! Each one of us is called – whether to the lay life in marriage, to the priestly life in the ordained ministry, or to a life of special consecration – in order to become a witness of the Lord, here and now.
This “today” that Jesus proclaimed assures us that God continues to “come down” to save our human family and to make us sharers in his mission. The Lord continues to call others to live with him and to follow him in a relationship of particular closeness. He continues to call others to serve him directly. If he lets us realize that he is calling us to consecrate ourselves totally to his kingdom, then we should have no fear! It is beautiful – and a great grace – to be completely and forever consecrated to God and the service of our brothers and sisters.
Today the Lord continues to call others to follow him. We should not wait to be perfect in order to respond with our generous “yes”, nor be fearful of our limitations and sins, but instead open our hearts to the voice of the Lord. To listen to that voice, to discern our personal mission in the Church and the world, and at last to live it in the today that God gives us.
May Mary Most Holy, who as a young woman living in obscurity heard, accepted and experienced the Word of God made flesh, protect us and accompany us always on our journey.
From the Vatican, 3 December 2017
First Sunday of Advent
(from Vatican Radio)…
Pope Francis on Saturday en route to Rome following his visit to Myanmar Bangladesh held his traditional in flight press conference.
Among the topics of discussion were the Rohingya people, nuclear arms, globalization and future travel plans.
Please find the full text below:
Greg Burke: Thank you, Holy Father. First of all, thanks. You have chosen two interesting countries to visit. Two very different countries but with something in common, that is, in each of these countries is a small but very active Church, full of joy, full of young people and full of the spirit of service for all of society. We certainly have seen a lot, we have learned a lot, but we’re interested also in what you have seen and what you have learned.
Pope Francis: Good evening, if we think of here, or good afternoon if we think of Rome, and thank you so much for your work… as Greg said, two very interesting countries, with very traditional, deep, rich cultures. For this, I think that your work has been very intense. Thank you so much.
Greg Burke: The first question is from Sagrario Ruiz de Apodarca, from Spanish National Radio.
Sagrario Ruiz (Radio Nacional Espanola): Good evening, Holy Father. Thank you. I’m asking the question in Spanish with the permission of my Italian colleagues because I don’t yet trust my Italian, but if you would answer in Italian, that would be perfect. The crisis of the Rohingya has tempered a large part of this trip. Yesterday, they were called by name finally in Bangladesh. Do you wish you would have done the same in Burma, named them with this word, Rohingya? And, what did you feel yesterday when you asked forgiveness?
Pope Francis: It’s not the first time. I had said it publicly already in St. Peter’s Square, in an Angelus, in an Audience… and it was already known what I thought about this thing and what I had said. Your question is interesting because it brings me to reflect on how I seek to communicate. For me, the most important thing is that the message arrives and for this I seek to say the things, step by step, and listen to the answers so that the message may arrive. An example in daily life: a boy, a girl in the crisis of adolescence can say what they think but throwing the door in the face of the other… and the message doesn’t arrive. It closes. I was interested that this message would arrive, for this I saw that if in the official speech I would have said that word, I would have thrown the door in a face. But I described it, the situations, the rights, no one excluded, the citizenship, to allow myself in the private conversations to go beyond. I was very, very satisfied with the talks that I was able to have, because it is true that I haven’t, let’s say it this way, had the pleasure throwing the door in a face, publicly, a denouncement, but I did have the satisfaction of dialoguing and letting the other speak and to say my part and in that way the message arrived and to such a point did it arrive that it continued and continued and finished yesterday with that, no? And this is very important in communicating, the concern is that the message arrives. Often, denouncements, also in the media, but I don’t want to offend, with some aggressive (tactics) close the dialogue, close the door and the message doesn’t arrive. And you who are specialists in making messages arrive, also to me, understand this well.
Then, something I heard yesterday… This wasn’t planned like this. I knew that I would meet the Rohingya. I didn’t know where or how, but this was the condition of the trip and they were preparing the ways, and after so much management also from the government, with Caritas… the government allowed this trip, of these who came yesterday. Because the problem for the government who protects them and gives them hospitality – and this is big. What Bangladesh does for them is big, an example of welcoming. A small, poor country that has received 700,000. I think of the countries that close the doors. We must be grateful for the example that they’ve given us – The government must move through the international relations with Burma, with permits, dialogue, because they are in a refugee camp with a special status. But in the end they come scared, they didn’t know. Someone there had told them, “You greet the Pope, don’t say anything,” someone who wasn’t from the government of Bangladesh, people who were working on it. At a certain point after the inter-religious dialogue, the inter-religious prayer, this prepared the hearts of us all. We were very open religiously. I at least felt that way. The moment arrived that they were coming to greet me, in a straight line, and I didn’t like that. One, the other… but then they immediately wanted to send them away from the scene and there I got mad and a chewed them out a bit. I’m a sinner. I told them so many times the word “respect, respect. Stay here.” And they stayed there. Then, having heard them one by one with an interpreter who spoke their language, I began to feel things inside, but (I said to myself) “I cannot let them go without saying a word.” I asked for the microphone. And I began to speak. I don’t remember what I said. I know that at a certain point I asked forgiveness, twice. I don’t remember. Your question is what did I feel. In that moment I cried. I tried not to let it be seen. They cried, too. And then I thought the we were in an inter-religious meeting and the leaders of the other religious traditions were there. “Why don’t you come too?” These were all of our Rohingya. They greeted the Rohingya and I didn’t know what more to say. I watched them. I greeted them. And I thought, all of us have spoken, the religious leaders, but one of you must make a prayer and one who I believe was an Imam or let’s say a “cleric” of their religion, made that prayer. They also prayed there with us, and seeing all that happened and the whole path, I felt that the message had arrived. I don’t know if I satisfied your question but part was planned, but the majority came out spontaneously. Then, I was told that today a program was made by one of you, I don’t know if they’re here or… from the TG1, a really long program, who did it…
Greg Burke: TG1 is still there in Bangladesh.
Pope Francis: Because it was replayed by TG4 and – I don’t know. I haven’t seen it, but some who are here have seen it – it’s a reflection that the message had arrived not only here. You have seen the front pages of the newspapers today. All have received the message and I haven’t heard any criticism. Maybe they are there but I haven’t heard them.
Ruiz: Thank you.
Greg Burke: The next question is from George Kallivayalil, an Indian who has made the trip for the Deepika Daily.
George Kallivayalil (Deepika Daily): Holy Father, your trip to South Asia was huge success, we know that you wish to go to India, too, in this trip. What exactly was the reason not to visit India in this trip? Indians in India, millions of the faithful still hope that Holy Father visit India next year. Can we expect you to be in India in 2018?
Pope Francis: The first plan was to go to India and Bangladesh, but then the process to go to India was delayed and the time was pushing so I chose these two countries: Bangladesh and next door Myanmar. And it was providential because to visit India, you need one single trip, because you’ve got to go to the south, the center, the east, the northeast, to the north for the different cultures of India. I hope to do it in 2018 if I’m alive! But the idea was India and Bangladesh, then the time forced us to make this choice. Thanks.
Greg Burke: And now from the French group, Etienne Loraillere of KTO, the French Catholic Television.
Etienne Loraillere (KTO): Holiness, there is a question from the group of journalists from France. Some are opposed to inter-religious dialogue and evangelization. During this trip you have spoken of dialogue for building peace. But, what is the priority? Evangelizing or dialoguing for peace? Because to evangelize means bringing about conversions that provoke tension and sometimes provoke conflicts between believers. So, what is the priority, evangelizing or dialoguing? Thanks.
Pope Francis: First distinction: evangelizing is not making proselytism. The Church grows not for proselytism but for attraction, that is for testimony, this was said by Pope Benedict XVI. What is evangelization like? Living the Gospel and bearing witness to how one lives the Gospel, witnessing to the Beatitudes, giving testimony to Matthew 25, the Good Samaritan, forgiving 70 times 7 and in this witness the Holy Spirit works and there are conversions, but we are not very enthusiastic to make conversions immediately. If they come, they wait, you speak, your tradition… seeking that a conversion be the answer to something that the Holy Spirit has moved in my heart before the witness of the Christians.
During the lunch I had with the young people at World Youth Day in Krakow, 15 or so young people from the entire world, one of them asked me this question: what do I Have to say to a classmate at the university, a friend, good, but he is atheist… what do I have to say to change him, to convert him? The answer was this: the last thing you have to do is say something. You live your Gospel and if he asks you why you do this, you can explain why you do it. And let the Holy Spirit activate him. This is the strength and the meekness of the Holy Spirit in the conversion. It is not a mental convincing, with apologetics, with reasons, it is the Spirit that makes the vocation. We are witnesses, witnesses of the Gospel. ‘Testimony’ is a Greek word that means martyr. Every day martyrdom, martyrdom also of blood, when it arrives. And your question: what is the priority, peace or conversion? But when you live with testimony and respect, you make peace. Peace starts to break down in this field when proselytism begins and there are so many ways of proselytism and this is not the Gospel. I don’t know if I answered.
Greg Burke: Thank you, Holiness. And now the Anglophone group. Joshua McElwee of the National Catholic Reporter.
Joshua McElwee (National Catholic Reporter) : Thanks so much, Holiness. A change of theme. During the Cold War, Pope Saint John Paul II said that the world policy of nuclear deterrence was judged as morally acceptable. Last month, you said to a conference on disarmament that the very possession of nuclear arms was to be condemned. What has changed in the world that led you to make this change? What role have the episodes and the threats between President Trump and Kim Jong Un had on your decision? What would you say to politicians that do not want to renounce their nuclear arsenals nor decrease them?
Pope Francis: I would prefer if the questions on the trip were done first, I say this to everyone, but I’ll make an exception because you asked a question. Now we’ll do the questions on the trip, then I’ll say something about the trip, and then the other questions will come. What has changed? Irrationality has changed (has increased). The encyclical Laudato Si comes to mind, the care of the created, of creation, from the time of John Paul II to all this many years have passed. How many? Do you have the date? (82) 82, 92, 2002, 2012…34 years. In the nuclear field, in 34 years it has gone beyond, beyond, beyond, beyond, and today we are at the limit. This can be a matter for discussion, it’s my opinion, but I am convinced of my opinion: we are at the limit of liceity to have and use nuclear arms. Because today, with the nuclear arsenal so sophisticated, we risk the destruction of humanity or at least a great part (of it). This with Laudato Si.
What has changed? This: the growth in nuclear armament, it has also changed in that they are sophisticated and even cruel, they are also capable of destroying people, leaving…without touching structures, but we are at the limit, and because we are at the limit I ask myself this question: and this not as a pontifical magisterium, but it is the question a Pope makes. Today is it licit to maintain the arsenal of nuclear weapons as they are, or today, to save creation, to save humanity, is it not necessary to go backward? I go back to something I had said from Guarini, it’s not mine, (but) there are two forms of culture:
First, the inculturation that God has given us, to create the culture through work, through investigation. We think of medical science, so much progress, so much culture, so many mechanical things. And man has the mission to create the culture received by the inculturation, but we arrive at a point where man has in hand with this culture the capacity to make another “inculturation,” we think of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This 60/70 years ago, the destruction and also this happened when also atomic energy can not have all the control. Think of the incidents in Ukraine. For this returning to arms, that are to conquer and destroy, I say we are at the limit of liceity.
Greg Burke: Thanks, Holiness. Now they have given me the signal that the questions that we have about the trip are others. So, if you’d like to say something about the trip…
Pope Francis: I would like some more about the trip, because (otherwise) it would seem that the trip wasn’t that interesting.
Greg Burke: (Come, come) We’ve found another about the trip. Come now, Delia Gallagher of CNN.
Delia Gallagher (CNN): Holiness, I don’t know how much you’d like to respond, but I’m very curious about your meeting with General Haling because I’ve learned a lot about this situation being here and I’ve understood that, well, apart from Aung San Suu Kyi, there is also this military man that is very important in the crisis and you have met him in person. What type of meeting was it? How are you able to speak with him? Thanks.
Pope Francis: Clever the question… eh.. good, good. But I would distinguish between the two meetings, two types of meetings. Those meetings during which I went to meet people and those in which I received people. This general asked me to speak. And I received him. I never close the door. You ask to speak and enter. Speaking you never lose anything, you always win. It was a beautiful conversation. I couldn’t say because it was private, but I didn’t negotiate the truth. But I did it in a way that he understood a bit that the path as it was during the nasty times renewed again today isn’t viable. It was a good meeting, civilized and also there the message arrived.
Greg Burke: Thanks, Holiness. I think that Gerard O’Connell.
Gerard O’Connell (America Magazine): Mine is a bit of a development of the questions from Delia. You met Aung San Suu Kyi, the president, the military, the monk who makes a bit of difficulty and then in Bangladesh you met the prime minister, the president, the Islamic leaders there and the Buddhist leaders in Myanmar. My question: what do you take away from all of these meetings? What prospects are there for the future of a better development in these two countries, in the situation also of the Rohingya?
Pope Francis: It won’t be easy to move ahead in a constructive development and it will not be easy for someone who wishes to go back. We are at a point where they have to study things. Someone – I don’t know if this is true – has said that the Rakhine state is one of the richest in precious stones and that possibly there are interests, being a land a little without people to work… but I don’t know if it’s true. These are just hypotheses that are said, also about Africa they say so many… but I believe that we are at a point where it won’t be easy to go ahead in the positive sense and it won’t be easy to go back, because of the awareness of humanity today… the fact of the return of the Rohingya, which the United Nations have said that the Rohingya are the most persecuted religious and ethnic minority in the world today. Well, this is a point that whomever has to go back must do so quickly. We are at a point there… that that dialogue… beginning with a step, another step, maybe a half step back and two ahead, but as human things are done, with benevolence, dialogue, never with violation, never with war. It isn’t easy. But is a turning-point. Is this turning-point being done for the good? Or is this a turning-point to go back? But yes, I don’t lose hope! But why? Sincerely, if the Lord has allowed this that we’ve seen yesterday, that we’ve experienced in a very reserved way, except for two speeches… the Lord promises something to promise another. I have Christian hope. And it’s known….
Greg Burke: Something yet about the trip? Valentina.
Valentina Alazraki (Televisa): On the trip, a question that we wished to asked before and then it didn’t go. We would like to know: a Pope that speaks about asylum seekers, refugees, immigrants every day… did you want to go to a Rohingya refugee camp? And why didn’t you go?
Pope Francis: I would have liked to go. I would have liked to go, but it wasn’t possible. The things are studied and it wasn’t possible for various factors, also the timing and the distance… but other factors as well. The refugee camp came with a representation, but I would have liked to, that is true. But it wasn’t possible.
Greg Burke: Enzo?
Enzo Romeo (TG2) : Holiness, thank you. I would like to ask you two things quickly. One is on globalization: we’ve seen especially in Bangladesh, and it is a reason for the question tied to the trip, that the nation is trying to get out of poverty but with systems that seem for us quite tough. We saw the Rana Square, the place where the building that was used for industrial textiles fell. 1100 people dead. 5,000 wounded. For 60 Euros per day they worked and in our restaurant to eat a plat of pasta and a pizza cost 50 Euro. No this seems incredible, right? In your opinion, from what you have seen and what you have heard, is it possible to get out of this mechanism? And then another thing is this that we’ve all thought: on the issue of the Rohingya, it seemed that there was also the will to intervene by jihadist groups (Al Qaida, ISIS) who right away, it appears, tried to make themselves the tutors of this people, of the freedom of this people. It’s interesting that the head of Christendom has shown himself more a friend in some way than these extremist groups. Is this sensation right?
Pope Francis: I’ll go from the second. There were groups of terrorists there who sought to take advantage of the situation of the Rohingya, who are a people of peace. This is like all the ethnicities, in all the religions there is always a fundamentalist group. We Catholics also have them. The military justify their intervention because of these groups. I try not to speak with these people. I try to speak with the victims, because the victims were the Rohingya people who on the one hand suffered that discrimination and on the other were defended by terrorists – and the government of Bangladesh has a very strong campaign, this is what I was told by ministers, of zero tolerance for terrorism not only for this, but to avoid other points – But these who are enrolled in ISIS are not Rohingya, but a fundamentalist, extremist, little group. But these make the ministers justify the intervention that has destroyed the good and the bad.
Greg Burke: Globalization, the first question…
Enzo Romeo: Bangladesh is seeking to go out from globalization, but at a very high price with the people exploited for little money.
Pope Francis: It’s one of the most serious problems. I’ve spoken about this in the private meetings. They are conscious of this. They are also conscious that liberty up until a certain point is conditioned, not only by the military, but also by the big international trusts and they have put focus on education and I believe that it has been a wise choice. And there are plans for education. They’ve shown me the percentages for the last years of how illiteracy has decreased. Quite a bit. And this is their choice, and I hope it goes well. The believe that with education the nation will go ahead.
Greg Burke: Thank you, Holiness. Jean Marie Guenois from Le Figaro.
Jean Marie Guenois (Le Figaro): So, today Burma is the nation from which you come… before this you went to Korea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka. It gives the impression that you are going around China. So, two questions on China: is a trip to China being prepared? And, second question, what have you learned from this trip of the Asian mentality and also in light of this project from China? What is the Asian lesson for you?
Pope Francis: Today, the lady chancellor of the State of Burma has gone to Beijing. It can be seen that they are in dialogue there. Beijing has a great influence on the region, it is natural. I don’t know how many kilometers of border Burma has with (China)… also at the Masses there were Chinese who had come and I believe that these countries that surround it, China, also Laos, Cambodia, have a need for good relations. They are close and I see as wise, politically constructive, it can move ahead. It is true that China today is a world power. If we see it from this side it can change the picture, but it will be the political experts to explain it. I can’t and I don’t know. It seems natural that they would have good relations.
The trip to China is not being prepared. Be calm. For the moment, it is not being prepared. But, returning from Korea, when they told me that we were flying over Chinese territory, I wanted to say something: I would so much like to visit China. I would like to. It is not a hidden thing. The negotiations with China are at a high level, cultural. Today, for example, in these days there’s an exhibition of the Vatican Museums there. Then, there will be one or there has been one, I don’t know, of the Chinese museums in the Vatican. There are cultural, scientific relations, professors, priests who teach in Chinese state universities. Then, it’s mostly political dialogue for the Chinese Church, with that issue of the Patriotic Church, the underground church, which must go step by step delicately, as it is doing, slowly… I believe that in these days, today, tomorrow a sitting will start in Beijing of the mixed commission. Patience is needed. But the doors of the heart are open. And I believe that a trip to China will do well. I would like to do it.
Greg Burke: Thanks, Holiness. Now a question more or less about the trip, if we remain on the trip. ABC News.
James Longman (ABC): My apologies, I don’t speak any Italian. Thank you very much for having me on your– I just want to ask if you have seen how much criticism Aung San Suu Kyi, and if you think that she received not having spoken enough about the Rohingya is fair.
Pope Francis: I heard all that, I heard the critics, also I heard the criticism of not being brought to the province of Rakhine, then you went a half day, more or less. But in Myanmar it is difficult to evaluate a criticism without asking, was it possible to do this? Or how will be possible to do this? In this I don’t want to say that it was a mistake to go or not to go. But in Myanmar the political situation… is a growing nation, politically in growth, and a nation in transition, (made up) of so many cultural values, in history, but politically it is in transition and because of this the possibilities should be evaluated also from this view. In this moment of transition would it have been possible or not to do this or that other (thing)? And to see if it was a mistake or it was not possible? Not only for the State’s Chancellor, but also for the president, for the deputies, the parliament. In Myanmar, you always have to have the construction of the country in front (of you), and from there you take, as I said at the beginning, two steps forward, one back, two forward, two back…History teaches us this. I do not know how to respond in another way, (this is) the little knowledge that I have on this place and I would not want to fall into what that Argentinian philosopher did who was invited to give conferences to countries in Asia one week and when he returned he wrote a book on the reality of that country. This is presumptuous.
Greg Burke: Thank you, Holiness! On the trip, Pullella.
Phil Pullella (Reuters): Yes, I would like to return to the trip if it’s possible. The meeting with the general was originally scheduled for Thursday morning. Instead you had to first meet Aung San Suu Kyi. When the general asked to see you first, the day of your arrival, it was a way of saying: I am in charge here, you have to see me first…in that moment did you feel that he or they wanted to manipulate you?
Pope Francis: The request was because he had to travel to China. If these things happen in every case, if I can move an appointment I do it…I don’t know the intentions, but I was interested in dialogue. A dialogue asked for by them and which they came to, it wasn’t scheduled in my visit. And I think that the most important thing…it’s clear that the suspicion is exactly what you said: we are in charge here, we are the first.
Pullella: Can I ask if — you said that you cannot tell what is said in private encounters, but can I ask you if during that encounter you used the word Rohingya, with the general?
Pope Francis: I used the words to get to the message and when I saw that the message was accepted, I dared to say everything I wanted to say. ‘Intelligenti pauca’ (Editors note: this refers to a Latin phrase meaning “few words are enough for the one who understands”).
Greg Burke: Thank you, Your Holiness.
Pope Francis: The lady asked me first. It’s the last.
Alicia Romay (Gestiona Radio): Good evening Holiness! For my part I have a question because yesterday when we were with the priests who were ordained, I thought about whether they are afraid to be Catholic priests at this time because of the Catholic life in the country, and whether they had asked you, Your Holiness, what can they do when fear arrives and they don’t know what to do?
Pope Francis: It’s your first trip, eh, you are the friend of Valentina. I always have the habit that five minutes before the ordination, I speak with them in private. And to me they seemed calm, serene, aware. They were aware of their mission. Normal, normal. A question that I asked them: do you play soccer? Yes, all of them. It’s important. A theological question. But I didn’t perceive that fear. They know that they must be close, close to their people, that yes, they feel attached to the people and I liked this. Then I spoke with the formators. Some bishops told me, before entering the seminary, that they make the presbytery so that they learn many things, and they also learn perfect English, to say something practical. They know English and they start seminary. I learned that ordination doesn’t happen at 23-24, but at 28-29…they seem like children, because they all seem so young, all of them, even the older ones…but I saw them secure. What they had…close to their people. And they care a lot. Because each one of them comes from an ethnicity and this…
I thank you, because they tell me that it’s past time. I thank you for the questions and for all that you have done. And what does the Pope think about the trip: to me the trip does me well when I am able to meet the people of the country, the People of God, when I am able to speak, to meet with them and greet them, the encounters with the people. We have spoken about the encounters with the politicians. Yes, it’s true, it must be done, with the priests, with the bishops…but with the people, this…the people, the people who are truly the depth of a country. When I find this, when I am able to find it I am happy. I thank you for your help. And thanks also for the questions and the things that I learned from your questions.
Thanks, and have a good dinner.
(from Vatican Radio)…