Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Pope Francis Gives First Interview to German Journalist: "I am a sinner and I am fallible"
[From Die Zeit] In an interview with the ZEIT, which will appear on Thursday, Pope Francis has critiqued the faith. When asked whether he also experiences moments in which he doubted the existence of God, he says: "I also know the empty moments." But the crisis is also an opportunity to grow: "A faith that does not fall into crisis (...) remains infantile." Pope Francis himself has the experiences of a normal believer. "I do not see myself as something special," says the head of over a billion Catholics around the world: "I am a sinner and am fallible." To every kind of papal cult, therefore, Francis declares a rejection. "We must not forget that the idealization of a person is always a subliminal kind of aggression." When I am idealized, I feel attacked," he says in an interview with ZEIT, which took place at the Vatican in late February. It is the first interview that Francis has given during his four-year term to a German journalist.
The Pope is concerned about the rise of populism in the Western democracies: "Populism is evil and ends badly, as the past century has shown," says Francis. "Populism means to use the people", it always needs a Messiah and also the justification to keep the identity of the people.
The Pope described the increasing lack of priests as a problem in many countries, for example in Germany. The Church is challenged and should face this and other problems also fearlessly. The task of theology is to research. "The truth is not to be afraid," says Francis, "Fears closes doors, freedom opens them, and when liberty is small, it opens a window." In addition, in the interview, there will be a discussion on celibacy, the ordination of married men to the priesthood, Francis addresses himself to the hostility toward his person and whether he will accept the invitation to visit Germany in the "Luther Year."
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