Monday, April 1, 2019

Pope Francis In-Flight Press Conference from Morocco "Building bridges is for me something that goes almost beyond human..." FULL TEXT

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS FRANCIS
IN MOROCCO
[30-31 MARCH 2019]

PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE HOLY FATHER
DURING THE RETURN FLIGHT FROM RABAT

Papal Flight
Sunday, March 31, 2019

Alessandro Gisotti

Good evening Holy Father, good evening to you all. We have a shorter flight than planned, but I think it will please you to make it easier to return home and therefore the press conference will be a little shorter. So I do not add anything else in the introduction, if not this, Holy Father: yesterday we said "servant of hope", we saw the joy, the hope, so many young people, and it is beautiful a few days after the signing of Christus vivit, which among two days is published; so this is also a nice sign that came from Morocco. I don't know if you also want to add something before giving space to the questions.




POPE FRANCIS
I thank you for the company, the journey, your work, it was so challenging because in a day and a half there were so many things. Thank you for your work. And now I'm at your service.

Alessandro Gisotti
Clearly, as is tradition, we start with the local media. Siham Toufiki, vouz voulez poser la question en français ou en anglais?

SIHAM TOUFIKI, Map Agency:

En français. The y a des moments qui sont très forts de cette visite and des messages touchants. Cette visite est un événement exceptionnel et historique pour le peuple marocain… The question est quont sont les fruits au future de la visit pour la paix au monde e pour la coexistence de dialogue et de culture?

[There were very strong moments in this visit and incisive messages. This visit was an exceptional, historic event for the Moroccan people. The question is what will be the fruits of this visit for the future, for peace in the world, for coexistence in the dialogue between cultures?]



POPE FRANCIS
I would say that now there are flowers, the fruits will come later! But the flowers are promising. I am happy, because in these two trips [United Arab Emirates and Morocco] I have been able to talk about this reality that is so dear to me, so much, that is peace, unity, fraternity. With our Muslim brothers and sisters we sealed this fraternity in the Abu Dhabi Document, and here in Morocco with what we all saw: a freedom, a fraternity, a welcome; all brothers with such great respect. And this is a beautiful "flower", a beautiful flower of coexistence that promises to bear fruit. We must not give up! It is true that there will still be difficulties, there will be many difficulties because unfortunately there are hard-line groups. Even this I would like to reiterate clearly: in every religion there is always a fundamentalist group that does not want to go on and lives of bitter memories, of past struggles and rather seeks war and sows fear. We have seen that it is more beautiful to sow hope, to sow hope and to walk holding hands, always ahead. We have seen that in the dialogue with you here in Morocco we need bridges, and we are saddened when we see people who prefer to build walls. Why are we grieved? Because those who build walls will end up being prisoners of the walls they build. Instead those who build bridges will go so far. Building bridges is for me something that goes almost beyond human, because it takes a very big effort. I was very struck by the words of the writer Ivo Andrić, in Romando Il ponte sulla Drina: he says that the bridge is made by God with the wings of angels so that men communicate, between the mountains and the banks of a river, so that men can communicate with each other. The bridge is for human communication. This is beautiful and I saw it in Morocco. Instead the walls are against communication, they are for isolation, and we become prisoners of those walls ... So, to sum up: the fruits are not seen but we see so many flowers that will bear fruit. Let's go on like this.

Alessandro Gisotti

Holy Father, another question from the Moroccan media, Nadia Hammouchi

NADIA HAMMOUCHI, TV 2M

Votre Sainteté, Vous vê êtes rendu pendant deux jours en lands of Islam. Vous êtes chef de l'Eglise Catholique, vous avez rencontrez le Roi du Maroc est est aussi Commandeur des croyants. Vous ave donc eu le temps de changer, de dialoguer dans le cadre de ce nécessaire rapprochement entre les religions, entre le cultures, et vous avez aussi signé quelque chose de concret concerning Jérusalem. Dans that sens cette visite avec tous les moments forts qu'elle a comporté peux renforcer ce dialogue, cet élan et puis la relation which the Chefs de l'Eglise entretien avec la Commanderie des croyant au Maroc?
Your Holiness, you went to the land of Islam for two days. She is the head of the Catholic Church and has met the King of Morocco who is the Commander of the believers. You have thus had the time for an exchange, to dialogue within the framework of this necessary rapprochement between religions, between cultures, and you have also signed something concrete regarding Jerusalem. In what sense can this visit with all the strong moments it entailed strengthen this dialogue, this impetus and this relationship between the Head of the Catholic Church and the Commandment of the believers in Morocco?

POPE FRANCIS

Always, when there is a fraternal dialogue, there is a relationship at various levels. Allow me an image: dialogue cannot be "laboratory", it must be human, and if it is human it is with the mind, with the heart and with the hands, and so agreements are made and signed. For example, the Common Appeal on Jerusalem was a step forward not made by an authority of Morocco and by an authority of the Vatican, but made by believing brothers who suffer seeing this "City of Hope" not yet be as universal as we all want: Jews, Muslims and Christians. We all want this. And for this we have signed this wish: more than an agreement it is a wish, an appeal to the religious fraternity that is symbolized by that city that is all "ours". We are all citizens of Jerusalem, all believers. I don't know if this was the question you wanted to ask me. I also liked the meeting with some religious leaders who were respectful and eager to talk. Your religious leaders are fraternal, they are open and this is a grace. Let's go on this road.

Alessandro Gisotti

Holy Father, Nicolas Senèze, from La Croix, now asks you the question.

NICOLAS SENEZE, La Croix

Good evening, Holy Father. Yesterday the King of Morocco said he will protect Moroccan Jews and Christians from other countries living in Morocco. I ask the question about Muslims who convert to Christianity: I wanted to know if he is worried about these men and women who risk prison or - in some Muslim countries like the Emirates, which you visited - death? And also a question - a bit crafty! - on Cardinal Barbarin who was born in Rabat and visited two days ...

Alessandro Gisotti

A question!

SENEZE

... it's a bit crafty, I know. This week the Council of the Diocese of Lyon voted almost unanimously that a lasting solution be found to its withdrawal. Setting aside the judicial fate of the Cardinal, I wanted to know if it is possible for you, who is very attached to the synodality of the Church, to hear this appeal of a diocese in such a difficult situation?

I can say that in Morocco there is freedom of worship, there is religious freedom, there is freedom of belonging to a religious belief. Then freedom always develops, grows ... Think of us Christians, 300 years ago, if there was this freedom we have today. Faith grows in awareness, in the ability to understand itself. A fifth-century French monk, Vincenzo di Lerins, coined a beautiful expression to explain how one can grow in faith, explain things better, grow in morality too but always being faithful to the roots. He said three words but they mark the way: he says that growing in explicitation and in the awareness of faith and morals must be ut annis consolidetur, dilatetur tempore, sublimetur aetate, that is, growth must be consolidated over the years, extended over time , but it is the same faith that is sublimated over the years. Thus we understand, for example, that today we have removed the death penalty from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. 300 years ago, heretics burned alive. Because the Church has grown in moral conscience, with respect for the person. And the freedom of worship also grows, we too must continue to grow. There are Catholics who do not accept what Vatican II said about freedom of religion, about freedom of conscience. There are Catholics who do not accept it. We too have this problem. But even the Muslim brothers grow in consciousness, and some countries do not understand well or do not grow like others. In Morocco there is this growth. In this context there is the problem of conversion: some countries still do not foresee it. I don't know if it's forbidden, but in practice it is. Other countries such as Morocco do not pose a problem, are more open, more respectful and seek a certain way of proceeding with discretion. Other countries, with whose representatives I have spoken, say: we have no problem but we prefer baptism to do so outside the country and return as Christians. They are ways of progressing in freedom of conscience and freedom of worship. But I am worried about something else: the regression of us Christians when we remove freedom of conscience: think of doctors and Christian hospital institutions that do not have the right to conscientious objection, for example for euthanasia. Such as? The Church has moved on and you Christian countries go backwards? Think of this because it is a truth. Today we Christians have the danger that some governments will take away our freedom of conscience, which is the first step to freedom of worship. The answer is not easy, but we do not accuse Muslims, we also accuse ourselves of these countries where this happens and must make us feel ashamed.

Then, on Cardinal Barbarin. He, a man of the Church, resigned, but I cannot morally accept them because legally, even in classical world jurisprudence, there is the presumption of innocence, during the time in which the cause is open. He appealed and the case is open. When the second court gives the sentence, let's see what happens. But there is always the presumption of innocence. This is important because it goes against the superficial media condemnation: "He did this ...". But look carefully: what does the law say? That if a cause is open there is the presumption of innocence. Perhaps he is not innocent but there is presumption. I once spoke of a case in Spain, of how the media condemnation ruined the lives of some priests who were later found innocent. Before making a media sentence, think twice. I don't know if I answered. He [the Cardinal] honestly preferred to say: "I withdraw, I take a voluntary leave and I leave it to the vicar general to manage the archdiocese until the court gives the final sentence". I got it? Thank you.

Alessandro Gisotti

Please, let us briefly ask you one question, just to respect all language groups. There is Cristina Cabrejas of Efe.

CRISTINA CABREJAS, Efe agency

Buenas tardes, Papa Francisco. The question is in Italian. In yesterday's speech to the authorities he said that the migration phenomenon is not resolved with physical barriers, but here in Morocco Spain has built two barriers with sharp blades to cut those they want to overcome. He met some of them at some meeting. And President Trump these days has said that he wants to completely close the borders and in addition suspend aid to three Central American countries. What would you like to say to these rulers, to these politicians who still defend these decisions? Thank you.

POPE FRANCIS

First of all, what I said a moment ago: the builders of walls, whether they are made of wire with sharp blades or bricks, will become prisoners of the walls they make. First. History will tell. Second: Jordi Évole, when he gave me the interview, showed me a piece of that thread with the blades. I tell you sincerely, I was moved and then when he left I cried. I cried because not so much cruelty enters my head and my heart. It does not enter my head and my heart to see it drown in the Mediterranean and make a wall to the ports. This is not the way to solve the serious immigration problem. I understand: a government with this problem has the hot potato in its hands, but it must solve it otherwise, humanly. When I saw that thread, with the blades, it looked incredible. Then once I had the chance to see a movie made in a prison, of refugees who are turned back. Unofficial prisons, traffickers' prisons. If you want, I can send it to you. They hurt ... they hurt. Women and children sell them, men remain. And the tortures that are seen filmed there are unbelievable. It was a film made in secret, with services. Here, I do not let in, it is true, because I have no place, but there are other countries, there is the European Union. We must speak, the whole European Union. Do not let them enter and let them drown or send them away knowing that so many of them will fall into the hands of these traffickers who will sell women and children and kill or torture to enslave men? This video is at your disposal. Once I talked to a ruler, a man I respect and I will say the name, with Alexis Tsipras. And speaking of this and the agreements to not let them in, he explained the difficulties to me, but in the end he spoke to me with his heart and said this sentence: "Human rights are before agreements". This sentence deserves the Nobel Prize.

Alessandro Gisotti


The question is addressed by Michael Schramm, ARD, German.

MICHAL WERNER SCHRAMM, ARD Rome

I have to apologize, my Italian is not good, sorry. My question: You have been fighting for many years to protect and help migrants, as you have done in the last few days in Morocco. European politics goes exactly in the opposite direction. Europe becomes a bastion against migrants. This policy reflects the opinion of voters. The majority of these voters are Catholic Christians. How do you feel with this sad situation?

It is true that so many people of good will, not only Catholics, but good people, of good will is a little taken by fear, which is the usual "sermon" of populism: fear. Sowing fear and then making decisions. Fear is the beginning of dictatorships. Let's go to the last century, to the fall of the Weimar Republic, I repeat this often. Germany needed a way out and, with promises and fears, Hitler went ahead. We know the result. Let's learn from history! This is nothing new: to sow fear is to make a collection of cruelty, closures and even sterility. Think of the demographic winter of Europe. Even we who live in Italy: below zero. Think of the lack of historical memory: Europe was made up of migrations and this is its wealth. Let us think of the generosity of so many countries, which are now knocking on Europe's door, with European migrants from 84 upwards, the two post-war years, en masse, North America, Central America, South America. My dad went there in post-war reception. Europe could also have a little gratitude ... I would say two things. It is true that the first job we need to do is to try to ensure that people who migrate for war or hunger do not have this need. But if such generous Europe sells the weapons that kill children to Yemen, how can Europe be coherent? This is an example, Europe sells weapons. Then there is the problem of hunger, thirst. Europe, if it wants to be the "mother" of Europe and not the "grandmother" of Europe, must invest, must seek intelligently to help grow with education, with investments. And this is not mine, Chancellor Merkel said. It is something that you carry on enough: to prevent emigration not by force but by generosity, educational, economic investments, and so on, and this is very important. Second, how to act: it is true that a country cannot receive everyone, but there is all of Europe to distribute migrants, there is the whole of Europe. Because hospitality must be with an open heart, then it is a matter of accompanying, promoting and integrating. If a country cannot integrate it must immediately think of speaking with other countries: "how much can you integrate?", To give a dignified life to the people. Another example - that I lived on my skin during the time of dictatorships, of the Condor operation in Buenos Aires - in Latin America: Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. It was Sweden that welcomed with an impressive generosity. They immediately learned the language, at the expense of the state, they found work, home. Now Sweden is feeling a little in trouble integrating, but says it and asks for help. When I was in Lund, last year or the other I don't remember, the Prime Minister welcomed me, but then in the farewell ceremony there was a Minister, a young Minister, I believe in education, it was a little brunette because she was the daughter of a Swede and an African migrant: thus integrates a country that I bring as an example, Sweden. But this requires generosity, we need to move forward. With fear we will not go ahead, with the walls we will remain closed in these walls ... I am making a sermon, sorry!

Gisotti

There is the question now of Cristiana Caricato, of TV2000.

CHRISTIAN LOADED, TV2000

Holy Father, you have just talked about fears and the risk of dictatorships that these fears can generate. Just today, an Italian minister, referring to the Verona conference, said that more than the family, one must be afraid of Islam. You, on the other hand, have been saying something else for years now. Do you think we are at risk of dictatorship in our country? Is it the result of the prejudice of non-knowledge? What do you think? And then a curiosity: you often denounce the devil's action, he did so also in the recent summit on the protection of minors. It seems to me that in the last period it is very active, the devil has done much to do lately, also in the Church ... What to do to counter it, especially with regard to pedophilia scandals, are laws enough? Why is the devil so active right now?

POPE FRANCIS

Very well, thanks for the question. A newspaper, after my speech at the end of the meeting on the protection of minors of the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences, said: "The Pope was smart, first he said that pedophilia is a world problem, a world scourge; then he said something about the Church, in the end he washed his hands and blamed the devil ". A bit simplistic, isn't it? That speech is clear. A French philosopher, in the seventies, had made a distinction that gave me a lot of light, called Roqueplo [Philippe], and gave me a hermeneutical light. He said: to understand a situation you have to give all the explanations and then look for meanings, what does it mean socially ?, what does it mean personally, or religiously? I try to give all the explanations, even the measures of the explanations, but there is a point that cannot be understood without the mystery of evil. Think of this: virtual child pornography. There were two important meetings, one in Rome and the other in Abu Dhabi. I wonder why this phenomenon has become a reality of everyday life? Why? And I'm talking about serious statistics. How come if you wanted to see a sexual child abuse live, you can connect with virtual child pornography and they show it to you. Look, I don't tell lies, it's in statistics. I wonder: can the public order makers do nothing? We in the Church will do everything to end it with this plague, we will do everything. And in that speech I gave concrete measures. There were already even before the summit, when the Presidents of the Conferences gave me that list I gave to all of you. But are the perpetrators of this filth innocent? Those who earn with this? In Buenos Aires, once, with two parliamentarians from the city, not from the national government, we made an "order", a provision, not a law, a non-binding provision for luxury hotels, in which it was said to put at the reception [ this warning]: "In this hotel you do not allow amusement with minors". No one wanted to put it. "No, but you know, you can't ... It looks like we're dirty ... We know we don't, but without the sign". Can a government, for example, not identify where these things are done with children? All live footage. To say that the world plague is great, but to say also that this is not understood without the spirit of evil, is a concrete problem. We must solve it concretely, but also say that it is the spirit of evil. And to solve this there are two publications that I recommend: an article by Gianni Valente, I believe in "Vatican Insider", where he talks about the Donatists. The danger of the Church today of becoming a Donatist by making human prescriptions, which must be done, but limiting oneself to these and forgetting the other spiritual dimensions, prayer, penance, the accusation of oneself, which we are not used to doing. It takes both! Because in order to overcome the spirit of evil one must not "wash one's hands" by saying: "it is the work of the devil". No. We must also fight against the devil, how we must fight against human things. The other publication is from the "Civiltà Cattolica". I had written a book, in 1987, the Letters of Tribulation, which were the letters of Father General of the Jesuits of the time when the Society was about to be dissolved. I did a prologue, and they did a study on the letters I wrote to the Chilean episcopate and the people of Chile, on how to act on this problem: the two aspects, the human, scientific, and even legal, to counteract the phenomenon ; and then the spiritual aspect. I did the same with the Bishops of the United States because the proposals were too centered on organization, on methodologies, and this second spiritual dimension was neglected unintentionally. With the laity, with everyone ... I would like to tell you: the Church is not a "congregationist" church, it is a Catholic Church, where the bishop must take matters in hand as a pastor. The Pope must take it in hand as a pastor. Such as? With disciplinary measures, with prayer, penance, with the accusation of oneself. And in that letter I wrote before they [the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences] began the Spiritual Exercises, this dimension is also well explained. I would be grateful if you studied the two things: the human aspect and also the spiritual struggle. Thank you.

Alessandro Gisotti
We've really pushed the times and I'm sorry but it's a press conference that has become long ...



POPE FRANCIS

[regarding the other question of C. Caricato] I really don't understand Italian politics. I don't understand ... I read something about a "Family day" on the Espresso. I do not know what it is, I know that it is one of the many "days" that are made ... I have read the letter that Cardinal Parolin has sent and I agree. A pastoral letter, educated, of a pastor's heart. But don't ask me about Italian politics, I don't understand. Thank you.
Alessandro Gisotti

There is only one minute for a small surprise for two colleagues who turned out yesterday: Phil Pullella and Gerard O'Connell, two great colleagues, and this is a small gift from the community of your colleagues and all of us .

POPE FRANCIS

You tell me he is older than me ... But this makes him 45 and this 50! Best wishes! Thank you and have a good trip, have a nice dinner and pray for me please. Thank you!

Gisotti

There is only one minute for a small surprise for two colleagues who turned out yesterday: Phil Pullella and Gerard O'Connell, two great colleagues, and this is a small gift from the community of your colleagues and all of us .



POPE FRANCIS
You tell me he is older than me ... But this makes him 45 and this 50! Best wishes! Thank you and have a good trip, have a nice dinner and pray for me please. Thank you!
FULL TEXT from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation

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