Fr. Raymond J. de Souza: Five Takeaways From Pope Francis’ Latest Interview

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Pope Francis in headgear given to him by representatives of the Canadian Indigenous peoples, July 25, 2022.Vatican News screenshot

COMMENTARY: The interview with ‘America’ revealed the Holy Father channeling his inner John Paul on bishops and the Church’s Marian profile, but not with respect to the late pope’s diplomatic skills.

In an extended interview with the Jesuit magazine, America, Pope Francis addressed a wide array of topics, from polarization to the war against Ukraine.

Five takeaways:

Polarization in the Church

Father Raymond J. de Souza“Polarization is not Catholic,” the Holy Father said in response to a question about divisive politics. “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.”

The question was put in the context of the United States, but Pope Francis chose to answer it on the level of general principle. While America magazine is rather parochial — hence the name — it is unlikely that when the Holy Father worries about polarization that the United States is at the top of his list. He currently has two local Catholic Churches — the majority of the German episcopate and the Syro-Malabar Church in Ernakulam-Angamaly (Kerala, India) — in open rebellion against his authority. And if the Petrine ministry of unity does not hold, then factions are sure to multiply. …

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