Francis on politics and society

Francis on politics and society

Pope Francis © Evandro Inetti

"Europe is afraid," Pope Francis is quoted as saying in a new book. In the interview book, he talks about "just war," poverty, friendship with women and psychotherapy with a Jewish analyst, among other things.

The book, which is about 400 pages long, includes interviews with Pope Francis. Excerpts released in advance show that the pope is worried about Europe and calls on the continent to rediscover its roots. "I would like to see a Mother Europe," the French "Figaro Magazine" quotes from an interview book by the French sociologist Dominique Wolton, which will be published on Wednesday. The magazine published in advance some excerpts from the talks with the Pope. Europe should not be afraid and should not close itself off, the pope said. "At the moment, Europe is afraid."

Europe, he said, is a story of "cultural, multicultural integration," Francis stressed. In order to define European culture today, the Christian roots are certainly important, but also the different languages and the ability to integrate.

Europe is partly responsible for the causes of migration

The pope also held Europe partly responsible for the causes of migration. Many migrants come to Europe because they have no work or because of war. "Who makes the war? Who provides the weapons? We," Francis is quoted as saying.

Africans have been exploited by European colonial powers, Francis said. Nowadays, he said, it is international companies that cut down entire forests in African countries. More job opportunities need to be created in Africa; companies need to invest there.

Church must deal aggressively with abuse

Furthermore, the pope stressed that the church must not take a "defensive" position in dealing with abuse. If a priest has abused someone, he is "sick," "Figaro Magazine" quotes from the interview book.

The church must teach how to prevent abuse and encourage a child to talk about what happened, he said. In France, there had been a wave of allegations against priests of abuse in 2016. Bishops were accused of not responding even though they were said to have known about allegations.

Religions are not sub-cultures

In France, where there is a separation between church and state, religions should also be seen as part of the culture. It is a "stupidity" to say that one should not wear a cross visibly around the neck.

Religions are not "sub-cultures," says Francis. "One wears a cross, the other something else, the rabbi wears a kippah and the pope wears a cap," Francis said. That would be a "healthy" separation of church and state.

Marriage is covenant between man and woman

In the book, Pope Francis also reiterated his view of marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman. "We can't change this. That is the nature of things," the "Figaro Magazine" quotes. Marriage, he said, was a "historic word".

In the history of mankind, not only in the church, it has always been concluded between a man and a woman, he said. A covenant between people of the same sex should be called "registered partnership", Francis said.

Talking to the Pope about God and the world

The interview book "Politique et societe, Pape Francois, rencontres avec Dominique Wolton" (Politics and society, Pope Francis, encounters with Dominique Wolton) will be published next Wednesday. For the book, Wolton had met with the pope twelve times over two years and interviewed him about his past as well as current ies such as the refugee crisis, Islam and marriage.

The book is said to be about various topics: For example, Francis is expected to explain his aversion to the term "just war," as well as his commitment to bringing the ie of poverty back to the forefront in the church. Outside, he talks about friendships with women and his time with a Jewish psychoanalyst whom he had visited at the age of 42.

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