Pope Francis in New Interview Reveals Cardinal's Mission Includes China - his Thoughts on a Vatican Council III and More

Pope Francis, gave a recent interview with Vida Nueva, for the 65th anniversary of the magazine. He spoke again of the possibility of a visit to Argentina next year. He revealed that Cardinal Zuppi's mission, "peace offensive," will also continue in China; he then explains that he wants to "appoint a bridge representative between the Russian and Ukrainian authorities" and that an interreligious peace conference in Abu Dhabi is scheduled for the autumn.

Vatican News relates that Kosovo is also a possible destination for a future trip; the mission of Cardinal Zuppi which continues in China and the initiatives for a "peace offensive"; the reforms of and in the Church; the "unripe" times for a Third Vatican Council; acceptance towards all and excessive rigidity in some ecclesial sectors: a "bad lactose". These are some of the themes at the center of Pope Francis' conversation with the Spanish magazine Vida Nueva, held in Santa Marta before leaving for the WYD in Lisbon and published in the midst of World Youth Day in a special issue.

The Pope answers the questions from the paper and digital edition of this communication, he says: "I will not go to any large country in Europe until I finish with the small ones". In fact, Francis reiterates what he already said in 2014 with his first European trip to Albania. Kosovo could now be added to the list of "small" countries to visit, a hypothesis born following the audience last June in the Vatican with Prime Minister Albin Kurti who invited the Pontiff to the country. "We are working in Kosovo, but it is not defined", reveals Francis. While to the inevitable question about the trip to Argentina, he replies: "I can confirm that it is planned, we will see if it can be done, once the election year is over".

Looking at the world, the Pope then answers some questions about the war in Ukraine and explains that, after the stops in Kyiv, Moscow and Washington, Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi could go to Beijing to complete the mission which he dubs in the interview a "peace offensive": "Zuppi is working hard as dialogue manager", the Pope affirms. After the USA, he will therefore go to China, "because both also hold the key to lowering the tension of the conflict". The cardinal "has already gone to Kyiv, where the idea of victory is maintained without opting for mediation. He was also in Moscow, where he found an attitude that we could define as diplomatic on the part of Russia ”. For the Pope, "the most significant progress" concerns the return of Ukrainian children to their country: "We are doing everything in our power to ensure that every member of the family who asks for the return of their children can do so".

Francis also explains that he wants to "appoint a permanent representative to act as a bridge between the Russian and Ukrainian authorities. For me, in the midst of the pain of war, it is a big step”. And he recalls that, in November, before the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, a peace meeting is being organized with religious leaders in Abu Dhabi: "Cardinal Parolin is coordinating this initiative, which wants to take place outside the Vatican, in a neutral territory that invites everyone to meet”.

Shifting the focus to the Church, the Argentine Pope affirms that "the time is not ripe for a Third Vatican Council". And in any case "it is not even necessary", given that "Vatican II has not yet been implemented". As for the reforms, Francis admits: "I have not yet dared to put an end to court culture in the Curia". And that, in any case, "the Church cannot be reformed without the Gospel".

Finally, speaking of young people, the Pope underlines that "an ideological pastoral care of the left or the right" is harmful to them. The excessive rigidity in the Church is also harmful: "I am afraid of intellectual youth groups, of those who call young people to reflect and then fill them with strange ideas". Even in seminaries, he adds, "we need normal seminarians, with their problems, who play football, who don't go to neighborhoods to dogmatize".

The pope invites us to “'unmask the prophets of confusion. All these 'bad lactose' proposals need to be demoted with clear arguments." Speaking of the "stagnant textbook theology", he warns instead that "it is easy for ideology to creep in and some movements take on a restorationist air, with a lot of apparent mysticism, but also a lot of corruption". Finally, in the conversation, the memory of the meeting in the Vatican with a group of transsexuals: "They left crying, saying that I had given them my hand, a kiss... As if I had done something exceptional for them. But they are daughters of God!”.

Edited from Vatican News with Screenshot from Vida Nueva Interview