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2015 Year of Consecrated Life
Year for Consecrated Life Plans Twelve Months Will Include International Events and New Documents The Church will celebrate a Year for Consecrated Life in 2015 to mark two key anniversaries, provide help to religious at a time of crisis in the Church, and to “evangelize” the vocation.     The three objectives were outlined this morning in the Press Office of the Holy See by Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Pope Francis called for the Year at the end of his meeting with 120 superior generals of male institutes last November, at the suggestion of the heads of the congregation on having heard from many of the consecrated. “First of all, this Year dedicated to consecrated life has been prepared in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and, more specifically, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of the conciliar decree on the renewal of consecrated life 'Perfectae caritatis',” Cardinal Braz de Aviz said. “We recognize these 50 years that separate us from the Council as a moment of grace for consecrated life, as marked by the presence of the Spirit that leads us to live even our weaknesses and infidelities as an experience of God's mercy and love.” For this reason, he added, “we want this Year to be an occasion for 'gratefully remembering' this recent past. This is the first objective of the Year for Consecrated Life.” “With a positive look at this time of grace between the Council and today, we want the second objective to be 'embracing the future with hope',” he continued. “We are well aware that the present moment is 'difficult and delicate' [and] that the crisis facing society and the Church herself fully touches upon the consecrated life. But we want to take this crisis not as an antechamber of death but as [an] opportunity to grow in depth, and thus in hope, motivated by the certainty that the consecrated life will never disappear from the Church because 'it was desired by Jesus himself as an irremovable part of his Church'.” “This hope,” he concluded, “doesn't spare us—and the consecrated are well aware of this—from 'living the present passionately', and this is the third objective for the Year.” He said the year-long celebration that begins in the fall of 2014 “will be an important moment for 'evangelizing' our vocation and for bearing witness to the beauty of the 'sequela Christi' in the many ways in which our lives are expressed.” “The consecrated take up the witness that has been left them by their respective founders and foundresses,” he said. “They want to 'awaken the world' with their prophetic witness, particularly with their presence at the existential margins of poverty and thought, as Pope Francis asked their superior generals.” For his part, Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the same congregation, explained the initiatives and events that will take place during the Year for Consecrated Life, which will begin this October to coincide with the anniversary of the promulgation of the conciliar constitution “Lumen Gentium”. The Year's official inauguration is planned with a solemn celebration in St. Peter's Basilica, possibly presided by the Holy Father, which could take place on 21 November, the World Day 'Pro orantibus'. This would be followed by a plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the theme of which would be “The 'Novum' in Consecrated Life beginning from Vatican II”. Fr. Carballo outlined various international events also planned for Rome, among which would include a meeting of young religious and novices, those who have professed temporary or final vows for less than ten years, a meeting for spiritual directors, an international theological conference on consecrated life dedicated to “Renewal of the Consecrated Life in Light of the Council and Perspectives for the Future”, and an international exhibit on “Consecrated Life: The Gospel in Human History”. For the conclusion of the Year for Consecrated Life another concelebration presided by Pope Francis is planned, probably for 21 November 2015, 50 years after the decree “Perfecta caritatis”. Every four months throughout the year, the dicastery will publish a newsletter on themes related to consecrated life, the first of which will come out on 2 February of next year, entitled “Be Glad” and dedicated to the Magisterium of the Holy Father on consecrated life. In response to the Pope's wishes, the Antonianum Pontifical University in Rome will host a symposium on the management of economic goods and capital by religious from 8 to 9 March. There will be a series of initiatives planned particularly for contemplative religious, including a world Chain of Prayer among monasteries. Archbishop Rodriguez Carballo also spoke of several documents that the dicastery is preparing: In close collaboration with the Congregation for Bishops and following a mandate by the Holy Father, the document “Mutuae relationes” on the relations between bishops and religious in the Church is being drawn up. Also, always on the mandate of the Pope, the instruction “Verbi Sponsa”, which deals with the autonomy and cloistering of entirely contemplative religious, is being revised. Another document in preparation will deal with the life and the mission of religious while a fourth one will touch on the question of how consecrated manage goods in order to offer some guidelines and direction in the complex situations that arise in that area. Finally, during the Year of Consecrated Life, it is hoped that the Holy Father will promulgate a new apostolic constitution on contemplative life in place of “Sponsa Christi”, which was promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

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Our Congregation of Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Claretian Missionaries) began its life in India in 1961 in the heart of the Syro Malabar Church, with the generous support and care of His Excellency Mar Sebastian Vayalil, then Bishop of Palai.

The first Claretian house in India was established at the traditional Christian stronghold of Kuravilangad in the diocese of Palai in 1970. Thus started off the Claretian Charism in the Syro Malabar Church. In a short span of three decades Claretians in India had a very rapid growth both in vocations and missions. It has three major organisms viz. the Province of Bangalore, the Province of Chennai and St. Thomas Province.
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Mission is the fruit of deep Christ-experience the individual has and the urge to share it with others. The Church is, by its very nature, missionary on account of its origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. The very reason of our existence in the Church as Claretians is our identity as the Missionary Servants of the Word. Being Claretians is the concrete way of being men, Christians, religious, priests and apostles, and all our life is shaped by this charism which is offered and shared in the community. Just as in the life of St. Antony Mary Claret, our vocational experience is the organizing principle of our existence and the motivating force of our entire life and apostolate. It is this inner experience of the call of God that renders us restless with an ardent zeal for God and consumes us with the ‘passion of God’ for His people. It provokes us to make an urgent, timely and effective response to the challenges of our times.

A son of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Claretian) is formed in the Heart of the Blessed Mother. Mary forms us in the forge of her heart, in the furnace of her love and mercy. She shapes us in her heart by making us grow in the traits of a perfect disciple of Jesus. The Objective of formation is to promote our growth in union and conformity with Christ, according to the Claretian charism in the Church, by means of a personalizing process, in each concrete situation and with openness to universality. (Formation of Missionaries, No.12) The candidate who joins the Claretian Missionaries of St. Thomas Province undergoes formation at different stages. The following are the various stages Vocation Ministry and Minor Seminary The aim of Vocation Ministry is to help individual candidates to make their personal option for Christ and grow in their vocation of service in the Church and beget in them an aptitude toward the Claretian Community. The minor seminary helps the adolescents and young men who show some signs of a Claretian vocation with an opportunity to explore it and to arrive at a free and responsible decision concerning it. Main Objectives To find and promote vocations to Claretian family. We also foster different forms of vocations existing in our congregation in such as to priesthood, permanent deacons and brotherhood. To admit prospective Claretian vocations into our minor seminaries after proper discernment. Integral formation of the candidate and harmonious development of the psycho-physical, i ntellectual and moral conditions which correspond to his age. To create an atmosphere of fraternity, openness and responsibility thereby achieving a greater emotional and sexual maturity. Postulancy The stage of postulancy is the time (3 years normally) to impart competent philosophical training; secure a university degree in arts and humanities and some basic religious and spiritual formation so that the formees have a firm intellectual, psychological and spiritual foundation for the entry into the novitiate. Main Objectives To deepen the intimacy with God, the Father and discover Christ in all things and all things in Christ and discern the action of the Holy Spirit in one's life. To foster deeper awareness of one's religious vocation. To experience and understand the Claretian life and mission today so that the formees are equipped to make a conscious option being aware of the meaning and responsibilities of the vocation. To help the formees adequately care for their physical well-being. Regency Regency is the period of at least one year when the student consolidates and personalizes what is learned during novitiate in the context of the actualities of the mission and is enabled to make definite option for Claretian missionary life according to the various needs of the congregation. Main Objectives To deepen the faith convictions in the context of our apostolate To develop a sense of belonging to Claretian family and active participation in its mission. To experience mature Claretian community life . To develop leadership qualities, initiatives and creativity . Theology In the stage of Theology studies (4 years normally), the student learns to take greater responsibility for his own integral formation, seeking God's will and assistance. He learns to integrate theological studies and reflections into his own personality, under the guidance of the formator to arrive at a clear vision of his mission. The formee intensely prepares himself to commit totally in the congregation and by receiving ministries and holy orders to participate in the mission of the Church. Main Objectives To have deeper filial relationship with God, the Trinity through prayer. To deepen one's faith through interiorisation of the sacred sciences To be rooted in deep prayer life, Christian virtues and moral values To prepare oneself for the missionary life in future To grow in cordi marian spirituality To achieve human maturity required of one's age  

  Pope Voice
Spirituality and Community Life We have come a long way from considering spirituality as something that deals with just practices of piety or some spiritual exercise. It is a whole way of life. It is the basic, practical, existential attitude of the person, which is the consequence and expression of the way in which one understands one’s existence and the meaning of reality. 1. Spirituality as the Centre of our Community Life We commit ourselves to give priority in our lives to the listening of the Word, the celebration of the Eucharist, daily prayer and cordimarian devotion (cf. CC 33-38). We provide the necessary community environment to support this priority.1 Fraternal life is best symbolized and brought to perfection in the Eucharist, which is the sign of unity and the bond of love.2 It is fostered by a prevailing tone of family life in which we all live together sincerely and openly. It is also expressed by our sharing in the governance and orderly operation of the community. Strengthened by such divine power we can move forward in missionary community to achieve personal fullness to which we have been called. As images of God and members of one body, we love one another fulfilling the Lord’s precept “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12). Fraternal love such as this involves the practice of all virtues: “Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage; it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever may come” (1Cor 13:4-7). In the community we are concerned for one another, and help bear one another’s burdens. Each and every one of us should continually work together to build community. Like the apostles we are also called to be co- builders of the kingdom of God. As Claretians our first and principal belonging must be to our deep communion with our brothers in the community and there by become witness and heralds of Good news. 2. Community as way of life Consecrated life is a special call of communion in the church. It is a call to love God and live together as brothers, caring and sharing (Rom 12:10; 612) as a family enjoying the presence of God (Mt 18:20). It is here that we come to the basic message and challenge of religious community life. It centers on the need of developing new qualities and attitudes towards life in our inter-personal relationship that will enable us to live as fruitful members of our community. The basic quality of the heart is its sensitivity to the feelings of others. The Gospels narrate how Jesus had feelings from the people and how he healed them and fed them (Mt 9:36; 15:32; Jn 11:33, 35). Religious life is a journey into the heart, a journey into one’s own heart, a journey into the heart of others and also a continuous journey into the heart of Jesus who gives them the light and the power to lead a life at the level of the heart. All the questions in community life can be summarized in one: How can I help myself in a community? Our common life responds to our Founder’s desire to imitate the apostolic life in its fullness, that is, to follow Christ who gathered the apostles about him in fraternal charity (cf. SH 118). According to our Constitutions (CC 10), the foundation of our missionary community life in the person of Jesus, the Son always sent in communion with the Father and the Spirit, in the community of the Twelve (cf. SH 118) and in the first community of believers (cf. SH 107). Community is the place where we live together, pray together, take responsibility together and study: the ambiance wherein we achieve the personal fullness to which we have been called (cf. CC 12) Community values hold a privileged place: sharing the faith, the Word and responsibilities; programming and planning together; teamwork; favouring mutual openness of the individual with others and with the group; jointly reading and analyzing situations and signs of the times (2F 13; CPR 61-62; SW 7).

Provincial Government
The II Provincial Chapter of the Province held from 4-8 December 2007 at Claretian Provincial House, karukutty elected this Provincial Government for a term of three years.   NAME & DESIGNATION PRESENT ADDRESS   Rev. Fr. Vattukulam Thomas Provincial Superior Claretian Provincial House Karukutty- 683 576 Angamaly, Ernakulam Dt. Kerala   Fr. Thadathil John Vicar, Prefect of Formation Claret Bhavan Post Box No. 6 Kuravilangad Kottayam - 686 633   Rev. Fr. Kidangayil Jose Prefect of Apostolate Claretian Provincial House Karukutty- 683 576 Angamaly, Ernakulam Dt. Kerala   Rev. Fr. Pulinkunnel Jose  Prefect of Economy Claretian Provincial House Karukutty, Angamaly Ernakulam Dt. Kerala   Fr. Kollamparampil George Prefect of Spirituality   Claretian Provincial House Karukutty- 683 576 Angamaly, Ernakulam Dt. Kerala CURIA ADDRESS Karukutty- 683576, Angamaly, Ernakulam Dt. KERALA, Tel. 0484 2613434, 3233666 E-mail :, Website:
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Pope Francis

Pope Francis Interview

ROME, March 05, 2014 -  published below the first English translation of Pope Francis’ interview with Ferruccio de Bortoli that appeared in Corriere della Sera. The text has been published by kind permission of the newspaper's director.

In an Interview with Corriere della Sera, Bergoglio Talks About His Revolutionary First Year at the Head of the Church"

“The Truth is that I Do Not Feel Nostalgia for Argentina”

By Ferruccio de Bortoli

One year has gone by since that simple “good evening” that moved the world. The lapse of 12 very intense months is not able to contain the great mass of Francis’ novelties and profound signs of pastoral innovation. We are in a small room in Saint Martha’s. The only window looks out onto a courtyard that opens a miniscule angle of blue sky. The Pope appears suddenly through a door, with a relaxed and smiling face. He is amused by the various recording devices that the senile anxiety of the journalist placed on the table. “Do they all work? Yes? Thank goodness.” The assessment of this year? No, he doesn’t like assessments. “I only do an assessment every 15 days, with my confessor.”

Holy Father, every now and then you call on the telephone those who ask you for help. And sometimes, do they not believe it’s you?

Holy Father: Yes, it’s happened to me. When someone calls it’s because he wants to talk, has a question to ask, advice to request. When I was a priest in Buenos Aires it was easier. And I have kept that custom. It’s a service, it is expressed like that. But it’s true that now it’s not so easy to do, given the quantity of people who write to me.

Do you remember any one of those contacts with particular affection?

Holy Father: An 80-year-old widow who had lost her son wrote to me. And now I give her a call once a month. She is delighted. I do the [role of a] priest. I like it.

In regard to your relations with your predecessor, Benedict XVI, have you ever asked him for advice?

Holy Father: Yes, the Pope Emeritus isn’t a museum statue. It’s an institution we’re not used to. Sixty or seventy years ago, the figure of the Bishop Emeritus didn’t exist. That came after Vatican Council II and now it’s an institution. The same has to happen with the Pope Emeritus. Benedict is the first and perhaps there will be others. We don’t know that. He is discreet, humble, he doesn’t want to bother. We spoke about it and together we came to the conclusion that it would be better if he saw people, that he come out and participate in the life of the Church. Once he came here on the occasion of the blessing of the statue of Saint Michael the Archangel, then for a lunch in Saint Martha’s and, after Christmas, I returned the invitation to participate in the Consistory and he accepted. His wisdom is a gift of God. Some would have liked him to retire to a Benedictine Abbey far from the Vatican. And then I thought of grandparents, who with their wisdom and advice give strength to the family and do not deserve to end in a retirement home.

We think that your way of governing the Church is like this: you listen to everyone and then you decide alone – somewhat like the Father General of the Jesuits. Is the Pope a man who is alone?

Holy Father: Yes and no, but I understand what you wish to say to me. The Pope is not alone in his work because he is supported by the advice of many. And he would be a man alone if he decided not to listen to anyone or to pretend that he listened. However, there is a moment when one must decide, when one must sign, in which he remains alone with his sense of responsibility.

You have innovated, criticized some attitudes of the clergy. You have revolutionized the Curia, with some resistance and opposition. Has the Church already changed as you wished a year ago?

Holy Father: Last March I had no plan to change the Church. I was not expecting, let’s put it this way, this transfer of diocese. I began to govern, trying to put into practice everything that had emerged in the debate among the Cardinals of the different Congregations. And in my actions I hope to count on the Lord’s inspiration. I’ll give you an example: there has been talk of the spiritual situation of people who work in the Curia, and then they started to make spiritual retreats. More importance should be given to annual Spiritual Exercises. All have a right to spend five days in silence and meditation, whereas before in the Curia they listened to three homilies a day and then some continued working.

Are tenderness and mercy the essence of your pastoral message?

Holy Father: And of the Gospel. They are the heart of the Gospel. Otherwise, one doesn’t understand Jesus Christ, or the tenderness of the Father who sends Him to listen to us, to cure us, to save us.

But was this message understood? You said that the “Francis mania” wouldn’t last long. Is there something of your public image that you don’t like?

Holy Father: I like to be among the people, with those who suffer, and to go to the parishes. I don’t like ideological interpretations, a certain mythology of Pope Francis. When it is said, for instance, that I go out from the Vatican at night to feed beggars on Via Ottaviano – I would never even think of it. Sigmund Freud said, if I’m not mistaken, that in all idealization there is an aggression. To paint the Pope as if he is a sort of Superman, a sort of star, I find offensive. The Pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps peacefully and has friends like everyone else. He is a normal person.

Do you have nostalgia for your Argentina?

Holy Father: The truth is that I have no nostalgia. I would go to visit my sister, who is sick, the last of five of us. I'd love to see her, but this does not justify a trip to Argentina: to call by phone, that is enough. I do not think I'll go before 2016, because I have already been to Latin America, to Rio. Now I have to go to the Holy Land, to Asia, and then to Africa.

You have just renewed your Argentine passport. You are still a head of state.

Holy Father: I renewed it because it had expired.

Were you annoyed that they accused you of being Marxist, especially in the United States, after the publication of “Evangelii Gaudium”?

Holy Father: Not at all. I never shared the Marxist ideology because it’s false, but I knew many good persons who professed Marxism.

The scandals that perturbed the life of the Church fortunately are now in the past. On the delicate topic of the abuse of minors, philosophers Besancon and Scruton among others, asked you to raise your voice against fanaticism and the bad faith of the secularized world that doesn’t respect childhood much.

Holy Father: I wish to say two things. The cases of abuse are terrible because they leave very profound wounds. Benedict XVI was very courageous and opened the way. And, following that way, the Church advanced a lot, perhaps more than anyone. The statistics on the phenomenon of violence against children are shocking, but they also show clearly that the great majority of the abuses come from the family environment and from people who are close. The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that moved with transparency and responsibility. No one else did as much. And yet, the Church is the only one being attacked.

You say that “the poor evangelize us.” The attention given to poverty, the strongest mark of your message, is taken by some observers as a profession of pauperism. The Gospel doesn’t condemn wealth. And Zacchaeus was rich and charitable.

Holy Father: The Gospel condemns the worship of wealth. Pauperism is one of the critical interpretations. In the Medieval Age there were many pauperist currents. St. Francis [of Assisi] had the genius of placing the subject of poverty in the evangelical journey. Jesus says that one cannot serve two masters, God and money. And when we are judged at the end of time (Matthew, 25), we will be asked about our closeness to poverty. Poverty removes us from idolatry and opens the doors to Providence. Zacchaeus gives half of his wealth to the poor. And those whose barns are full of their own egoism, the Lord, at the end, will call to account. I think I expressed well my thought on poverty in “Evangelii Gaudium.”

You identify in globalization, especially financial, some of the evils that humanity suffers. However, globalization brought millions of people out of poverty. It brought hope, a rare sentiment that must not be confused with optimism.

Holy Father: It’s true, globalization saved many people from misery, but it condemned many others to die of hunger, because with this economic system it becomes selective. The globalization that the Church thinks of does not look like a sphere in which every point is equidistant from the center and in which, therefore, the particularity of peoples is lost. It is, rather, a polyhedron, with its different facets, in which each nation keeps its own culture, language, religion, identity. The present “spherical” economic globalization, especially the financial, produces one thought, a weak thought. And the human person is no longer at its center but only money.

The subject of the family is central for the activity of the Council of Eight Cardinals. Since John Paul II’s Exhortation “Familiaris Consortio”, many things have changed. Great novelties are expected. And you said that divorced persons must not be condemned – that they must be helped.

Holy Father: It is a long path that the Church must complete, a process that the Lord wants. Three months after my election, I was submitted the topics for the Synod, and we decided to discuss what Jesus’ contribution is to contemporary man. However, at the end – which for me is a sign of the will of God -- we decided to discuss the family, which is going through a very serious crisis. It’s difficult to form a family. Young people no longer get married. There are many separated families, whose common life plan failed. The children suffer a lot. And we have to give an answer. However, we have to reflect a lot on this, and in depth. This is what the Consistory and the Synod are doing. We must avoid staying on the surface of the topic. The temptation to resolve each problem with casuistry is an error, a simplification of profound things. It’s what the Pharisees did: a very superficial theology. And it is in the light of this profound reflection that particular situations will be able to be addressed seriously, also that of the divorced.

Why did Cardinal Walter Kasper’s report in the last Consistory (an abyss between the doctrine on marriage and the family and the real life of many Christians) generate so much division among the Cardinals? Do you think that the Church will be able to go through these two years of toilsome journey to come to a broad and serene consensus?

Holy Father: Cardinal Kasper made a beautiful and profound presentation, which will soon be published in German, in which he addresses five points, the fifth of which is that of second marriages. I would have been more worried if there hadn’t been an intense discussion in the Consistory, because it would have been useless. The Cardinals knew that they could say what they wanted, and they presented different points of view, which are always enriching. Open and fraternal debate makes theological and pastoral thought grow. That doesn’t frighten me. What’s more, I look for it.

In the recent past, it was customary to refer to “non-negotiable values,” especially on questions of bioethics and sexual morality. You haven’t used that formula. Is that choice a sign of a less prescriptive style, more respectful of individual conscience?

Holy Father: I never understood the expression “non-negotiable values.” Values are values and that’s that. I can’t say which of the fingers of the hand is more useful than the rest, so I don’t understand in what sense there could be negotiable values. What I had to say on the topic of life I have put in writing in “Evangelii Gaudium.”

Many countries have regulated civil unions. Is it a path that the Church can understand? But up to what point?

Holy Father: Marriage is between one man and one woman. The secular States want to justify civil unions to regulate different situations of coexistence, spurred by the need to regulate economic aspects between persons as, for instance, to ensure healthcare. Each case must be looked at and evaluated in its diversity.

How will the role of women be promoted within the Church?

Holy Father: Casuistry doesn’t help in this case either. It’s true that women can and must be more present in decision-making posts of the Church. But I would call this a promotion of a functional type. And with that alone, one doesn’t advance much. Rather, we must think that the Church has the feminine article, “la”: it is feminine by origin. Theologian Urs von Balthasar worked a lot on this topic: the Marian principle guides the Church by the hand of the Petrine principle. The Virgin is more important than any Bishop and any of the Apostles. The theological reflection is already underway. Cardinal [Stanislaw] Rylko [president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity], together with the Council of the Laity, is working in this direction with many expert women.

Half a century after Paul VI’s encyclical “Humanae Vitae,” can the Church take up again the topic of birth control? Your confrere, Cardinal [Carlo Maria] Martini [the late Archbishop of Milan] believed it was now time.

Holy Father: It all depends on how the text of “Humanae Vitae” is interpreted. Paul VI himself, towards the end, recommended to confessors much mercy and attention to concrete situations. But his genius was prophetic, as he had the courage to go against the majority, to defend moral discipline, to apply a cultural brake, to oppose present and future neo-Malthusianism. The object is not to change the doctrine, but it is a matter of going into the issue in depth and to ensure that the pastoral ministry takes into account the situations of each person and what that person can do. This will also be discussed on the path to the Synod.

Science evolves and redraws the ends of life. Does it make sense to prolong life in a vegetative state?

Holy Father: I’m not a specialist on bioethical arguments, and I’m afraid of being mistaken in my words. The Church’s traditional doctrine states that no one is obliged to use extraordinary methods when someone is in his terminal phase. Pastorally, in these cases I have always advised palliative care. On more specific cases, should it be necessary, it’s appropriate to seek the advice of specialists.

Will your trip to the Holy Land lead to an agreement of intercommunion with the Orthodox that Paul VI, fifty years ago, almost signed with [Patriarch] Athenagoras?

Holy Father: We are all impatient about achieving “sealed” results. But the path of unity with the Orthodox means above all walking and working together. In Buenos Aires, several Orthodox came to the catechetical courses. I usually spent Christmas and 6 January together with their bishops, who sometimes even asked the advice of our diocesan offices. I do not know if the story is true that Athenagoras told Pope Paul VI that he proposed that they walk together and send all the theologians to an island to discuss among themselves. It's a joke, but it is important that we walk together. Orthodox theology is very rich. And I believe that they have, at this time, great theologians. Their vision of the Church and collegiality is marvelous.

In a few years the greatest world power will be China with which the Vatican has no relations. Matteo Ricci was a Jesuit like you.

Holy Father: We are close to China. I sent a letter to President Xi Jinping when he was elected, three days after me. And he answered me. The relationships are there. They are a great people whom I love.

Why, Holy Father, do you never speak about Europe? What is it about the European project that does not convince you?

Holy Father: Do you remember the day when I spoke of Asia? What did I say? (Here the reporter ventures to give some explanation, collecting vague memories only to realize that he had fallen for a nice trick). I have not spoken about Asia, or Africa, or Europe. Only about Latin America when I was in Brazil, and when I had to receive the Commission for Latin America. There hasn’t yet been a chance to talk about Europe. It will come.

What book are you reading these days?

Holy Father: ‘Peter and Magdalene’ by Damiano Marzotto on the feminine dimension of the Church. A beautiful book.

And you’re not able to see any good films, another of your passions? "La Grande Bellezza" won an Oscar. Will you see it?

Holy Father: I don’t know. The last movie I saw was Benigni's ‘Life is Beautiful’. And before I had seen Fellini's ‘La Strada’. A masterpiece. I also liked Wajda...

St. Francis had a carefree youth. I ask you: have you ever been in love?

Holy Father: In the book The Jesuit, I recount when I had a girlfriend at the age of 17. And I mention it also Heaven and Earth, the volume that I wrote with Abraham Skorka. In the seminary, a girl made my head spin for a week.

And if you do not mind me asking, how did it end?

Holy Father: They were things of youth. I spoke with my confessor about it [a big smile].

Thank you Holy Father.

Holy Father: Thank you.


Provincial Secretary Province of St Thomas
Claretian Provincial House, Karukutty
Ernakulam Dt. - 683 576; Tel.0484 2613434
mob.09400071268; web.


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