“Freedom scares us.” It is under this evocative title that the director of La Civiltà Cattolica gave to an interview with Pope Francis.
This is what Pope Francis said: “the idea of inviting Jesuits to meet me on my apostolic journeys is Fr. Spadaro’s because it gives him material to write an article for La Civiltà Cattolica. They always publish these conversations!”
And he adds: “Now I wait for your questions. Take a shot at the goalkeeper. Come on!”
The questions, no doubt prepared, allow Peter's successor to deliver the gist of his thoughts directly: first about the rumors that have circulated about his health.
“(I am) still alive, although some people wanted me to die,” explains the sovereign pontiff who adds “I know there were even meetings between prelates who thought the pope’s condition was more serious than the official version. They were preparing for the conclave. Patience! Thank God, I’m all right.”
Then comes the question of the vision of the Church defended by the successor of Benedict XVI. The opportunity to slay, in a few chosen sentences, those who see in Tradition an essential dimension of the life of the Church: “We are suffering this today in the Church: the ideology of going backward. It is a form of ideological colonization,” he says.
The tone is set, and one hears him repeating the notions of “rigidity” and “clericalism,” both considered “great perversions” of the spirit.
We are to understand that loving the Tradition of the Church is a pathology, and this does not suffer the slightest debate, to the point that we could retort to the Holy Father what he will declare a few moments later, addressing those who criticize him: “I sometimes lose patience, especially when they make judgments without entering into a real dialogue.”
As might be expected, the Argentine pontiff returned to the question of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, which is particularly close to his heart, welcoming a document which “stops the automatism of the ancient rite,” and calling on those who wish to celebrate according to the Tridentine use to “land” and “come back to earth.”
To a Jesuit who told him that “it was a wonderful experience” to be a worker-priest, the Pope replied very briefly: “To work to earn one's bread ... manual or intellectual work is work, it is health.” A response that sounds like an encouragement for what has been condemned by Pope Pius XII and which has done so much harm to priests.