Pope: “’But I belong to this religion, or to that one …’ it doesn’t matter!”
Posted by Oakes Spalding at mahoundsparadise.blogspot.com/2016/04/pope-on-earth-day-but-i-belong-to-this.html
On Sunday Pope Francis made another “surprise” visit, this time to an Earth Day celebration in Rome, sponsored in part by Focolare.
Focolare is officially a Catholic group, though some have called it an indifferentist cult.
However, in fairness to Focolare, it wasn’t a representative of that group that made the statement of the post title, but the Vicar of Christ himself.
Who needs Focolare when we have Francis?
Here are some excerpts from the Pope’s “impromptu” remarks on an outdoor stage (from a Crux translation of a Vatican provided transcript):
Thanks much for everything, and now I’ll do a little improvisation. I’ll leave aside what I wrote down to say to you, and say instead what comes to me …
Listening to you speak, two images came to me: The desert, and the forest. I thought, these people, all of you, all, are taking up the desert in order to transform it into a forest. They go where there’s desert, where there isn’t hope, and they do things to make a forest of this desert. The forest is full of trees, it’s full of vegetation, but too disorganized … but, life is like that. Passing from the desert to the forest is the beautiful work you do! You transform deserts into forests! (applause) Then, one can see how to regulate certain things in the forest … but there’s life in it, while in the desert there’s death.
There are many deserts in the cities, deserts in people’s lives who don’t have a future, because there’s always – and I’ll underline a word here – always there are prejudices, fears. These people live and die in the desert of the cities. You perform a miracle with your work of changing the desert into a forest: Go forward that way.
What’s your plan of work? I don’t know … We’re approaching you, and we’ll see what we can do. Life has to be taken as it comes. It’s like a goaltender in soccer: You have to take the ball where it’s kicked … it comes from here and there. But you must not be afraid of life, or afraid of conflicts …
…The desert is ugly, both the desert in the heart of all of us, as well as the desert in the city, in the peripheries, which is also an ugly thing. There’s also a desert that’s in the gated neighborhoods … It’s ugly, but the desert is there too. We must not be afraid to go to the desert to transform it into a forest, where there’s exuberant life, and to go dry the many tears so that everyone can smile….
…I’ll give you an assignment to do at home. Look at the faces of people when you go into the street: they’re worried, everyone is closed in on themselves, they lack a smile, in other words they lack tenderness, social friendship … they lack this social friendship. Where there isn’t social friendship there’s always hatred and war. We’re living a piecemeal Third World War, everywhere. Look at the geographic map of the world, and you’ll see.
…There’s a word not to forget in this world, where it seems that if you don’t pay you can’t live, where the person, the man and woman that God created to be the center of the world, to be for that matter at the center of the economy, are thrown out and instead we have at the center a god, the god of money. Today at the center of the world is the god of money, and those who can approach to adore this god … (applause) … they approach, and those who can’t finish in hunger, in illness, in exploitation … Think about the exploitation of children, of young people…
…Look, these are the things that come to my mind. How to do this? Simply in the awareness that we all have something in common, we’re all human. And in this humanity, we can get close to each other to work together … “But I belong to this religion, or to that one …” it doesn’t matter!
Let’s all go forward to work together, respecting each other, respecting! I see this miracle: the miracle of a desert that becomes a forest. Thanks for everything you do!