Saturday, March 25, 2023

Associated Press interview: Pope talks about health, criticism and his future

Pope Francis says it has not occurred to him to introduce rules to regulate future papal resignations, and he will continue as Bishop of Rome despite a wave of criticism from some high-ranking cardinals and bishops. Will continue for a long time.

In his first interview since the death of retired Pope Benedict XVI on December 31, Francis discussed his health, his critics and the next step in his papacy, which in March marks its 10th anniversary without Benedict’s shadow hanging in the background Has happened

“I am healthy. Because of my age, I am normal,” the 86-year-old pontiff said Tuesday, although he added that diverticulosis, a pocket that forms in the wall of the intestine, “had returned.” In 2021, 10 inches (33 cm) of Francis’ large intestine was removed, which the Vatican described as inflation due to narrowing of the colon.

He said that a small fracture in the knee caused by a fall had healed without surgery after being treated with laser and magnetotherapy.

“I could die tomorrow, but come on, it’s controlled. I’m in good health,” he told The Associated Press with his usual irony.

Speculation about Francis’ health and the future of his pontificate has only increased since the death of Benedict, whose resignation in 2013 marked a turning point for the Catholic Church, becoming the first pontiff to step down in six centuries.

Some experts believe Francis may find himself freer to maneuver once Benedict, who spent 10 years of his retirement at the Vatican, is gone. Others suggest that any kind of ecclesiastical peace is gone and that Francis is now more open to criticism, deprived of the moderating influence Benedict used to keep more conservative Catholics at bay.

Pope acknowledged that there were conflicting views, but seemed almost optimistic about it.

“I would associate it not with Benedict, but with the wear and tear of ten years of government,” he said of his papacy. He said that his election to the South American papacy was first met with “surprise”. Then came the discomfort “When they start seeing my faults, (…) they don’t like it,” he said.

“The only thing I ask is that they do them to my face, because that’s how we grow up, right?” she added.

Francis praised Benedict’s “lordship”, saying that with his death, “I lost a father.”

“For me it was security when faced with a doubt, to ask for a car and go to the monastery and ask questions,” he said of trips to Benedict’s retirement home to seek advice. “I lost a good friend.”

Some cardinals and canon lawyers have said that the Vatican should regulate future papal retirements to avoid some hiccups during Benedict’s unexpectedly long retirement, in which the retired pope remained a reference point for some conservatives and traditionalists who Refused to recognize the legitimacy of Francis.

Pope says laws against homosexuality are “unjust” and “homosexuality is not a crime”

From the name chosen by Benedict, pope emeritus, to the white robes he wore in his occasional public appearances, in which he spoke of priestly celibacy and sexual abuse, these experts said the norms should make it clear that only There is only one ruling Pope. , for the unity of the Church.

Francisco said he hadn’t even thought about those rules.

“It didn’t occur to me. I tell you the truth,” he remarked, adding that the Vatican needed more experience with retired popes to “regulate or over-regulate”.

Francis has said that Benedict “opened the door” for a future resignation and that he too would consider it. On Tuesday he reiterated that if he did resign, he would take up the post of bishop emeritus of Rome and live in a residence for retired priests in the Diocese of Rome.

The pope described Benedict’s decision to settle in a converted monastery in the Vatican Gardens as “a good compromise,” but perhaps in the future, other popes will want to do things differently.

“He was still a papal slave, unquote, right?” Francis said. “From the point of view of a pope, of a system. Slave in the good sense of the word. In which he was not entirely free, perhaps because he wanted to return to his Germany and continue his study of theology from there.

Benedict’s death arguably removes the main obstacle to Francis’ resignation, given that the prospect of having two retiring popes was never an option. But Francisco said the death of his predecessor had not changed his plans. “It never occurred to me to make a will about myself,” he said.

In the short term, Francis stressed his role as the “Bishop of Rome” as opposed to the papal figurehead and said he planned to “continue dialogue with a bishop, the bishop of Rome and all the bishops of the world”. He indicated that he wanted to end the concept of the papacy as a “court”.

The Pope also addressed the criticism of cardinals and bishops that had been discussed in the weeks following Benedict’s death, which he described as uncomfortable, “like hives, it bothers a little,” but about which he would prefer to remain silent.

“Nobody likes to be there (criticism),” he said. For peace of mind, go,” he said. “But I like that they do them, because it means there is freedom of speech.”

“If it is not so, then a dictatorship of distance arises, which is what I call it, where the emperor is there and no one can say anything to him. No, let them say, because the company, the critics help it to grow. and things go well”, he said.

The first spearhead in the flurry of attacks came from Benedict’s longtime secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who laid bare the resentment that had built up over 10 years in a revealing memoir published days before Benedict’s funeral.

In one of the most controversial parts, Ganswein revealed that Benedict learned from the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano that Francis had rescinded one of the pope emeritus’ most signal liturgical decisions and lifted restrictions on celebrating Mass in Latin. was implemented again.

Days after the memoir was published, the Vatican was rocked again by the death of another conservative leader, Cardinal George Pell, and revelations that Pell had written a devastating memoir that had been circulated the previous year, and that he had written a letter to Francis. The bishop described it as “a disaster” and “a disaster.”

The text, which initially circulated under the pseudonym “Demos”, listed all the problems at the Vatican under Francis, from its precarious finances to the pontiff’s preaching style, and included a list of ways the future pope would help him. What can you do for

Francis acknowledged Pell’s criticism but still praised him for being his “right hand” in reforming Vatican finances and his first finance minister.

“He says that in the end he criticized me. Well, he has the right, criticism is a human right,” commented Francisco. “A great guy. Great”.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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