The Holy Father spoke exclusively with Matt Malone, S.J., the departing editor in chief of America, Sam Sawyer, S.J., the incoming editor in chief; executive editor Kerry Weber; Gerard O’Connell, America’s Vatican correspondent; and Gloria Purvis, host of “The Gloria Purvis Podcast.”
I am joyful when I am with people—always. One of the things I find most difficult as pope is not being able to walk on the street with the people, because here one cannot go out; it is impossible to walk on the street. But I would not say that I am happy because I am healthy, or because I eat well, or because I sleep well, or because I pray a great deal. I am happy because I feel happy, God makes me happy. I don’t have anything to blame on the Lord, not even when bad things happen to me. Nothing. Throughout my life, he has always guided me on his path, sometimes in difficult moments, but there is always the assurance that one does not walk alone. I have that assurance. He is always at my side. One has one’s faults, also one’s sins; I go to confession every 15 days—I do not know, that is just how I am.
Polarization is not Catholic. A Catholic cannot think either-or (aut-aut) and reduce everything to polarization. The essence of what is Catholic is both-and (et-et). The Catholic unites the good and the not-so-good. There is only one people of God. When there is polarization, a divisive mentality arises, which privileges some and leaves others behind. The Catholic always harmonizes differences. If we see how the Holy Spirit acts; it first causes disorder: think of the morning of Pentecost, and the confusion and mess (lío) it created there, and then it brings about harmony. The Holy Spirit in the church does not reduce everything to just one value; rather, it harmonizes opposing differences. That is the Catholic spirit. The more harmony there is between the differences and the opposites the more Catholic it is. The more polarization there is, the more one loses the Catholic spirit and falls into a sectarian spirit.
The question is: What is the relation of the bishop with his people? Permit me to mention a bishop about whom I do not know if he is conservative, or if he is progressive, if he is of the right or of the left, but he is a good pastor: [Mark] Seitz, [bishop of El Paso,] on the border with Mexico. He is a man who grasps all the contradictions of that place and carries them forward as a pastor. I do not say the others are not good, but this is one I know. You have some good bishops who are more on the right, some good bishops who are more on the left, but they are more bishops than ideologues; they are more pastors than ideologues. That is the key.
There’s much more, including discussion of China, Ukraine and women’s ordination. Read it all.