Pope Francis during a Reuters interview © Reuters
Pope Francis comments on a range of ies in an exclusive interview with Reuters news agency. In the process, the pontiff rebukes Trump's migration policy, comments on relationship with China and contradicts resignation rumors.
Pope Francis backed U.S. Catholic bishops in criticizing the separation of children and parents at the U.S.-Mexico border as "immoral" and "contrary to our Catholic values". Populism is not the solution to the world's migration ies, he said.
Vatican and China in talks
Regarding Vatican-Beijing relations, Francis rejected criticism that the Vatican might sell Catholics loyal to Rome to the communist government in Beijing in return. "We are at a good point," Francis said. Literally, the pope said, "On timing, some say it is 'Chinese time'. I say it is God's time. Let us go forward quietly."The path of a reconciliation with China consists of three ways: an official dialogue, unofficial contacts between ordinary citizens "whom we do not want to burn" and a "cultural dialogue".
In the interview, the pope did not comment on details of the talks; however, he said dialogue is the best way to go. "Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer risk rather than the kind of defeat that comes from not having dialogue," Francis said. The Chinese deserve "the Nobel Prize for patience," the pope continued; "they know how to wait". He said the Chinese are a "very wise people" for whom he has "great respect".
Francis: Currently not thinking at all of resignation
Later in the interview, Francis confirmed that he may, like his predecessor Benedict XVI. (2005-2013) could one day resign for health reasons. "At the moment, however, I'm not thinking of anything like that at all," he said in the exclusive interview with Reuters news agency. In health, he was doing well, said the Pope. He only had pain in his legs that came from his back.
Pope on criticism of "Amoris Laetitia" by four cardinals
Pope Francis "learned about the letter of the four cardinals criticizing his letter "Amoris laetitia" from the newspapers". 'Doing something like this in this way is, let's say, not ecclesiastical'. But we all make mistakes," Francis said. In September 2016, Cardinals Raymond Burke and Walter Brandmuller, as well as Joachim Meisner and Carlo Caffarra, now deceased, had criticized some passages of the Apostolic Exhortation "Amoris laetitia" on marriage and family of April 2016.
In the letter, they expressed a number of doubts (dubia) and demanded clarification from Francis. After the four said they received no response, they decided to make the letter public with their criticism. Francis compared the different currents in the church to a river and its different arms. "We have to be respectful and tolerant of each other, and as long as someone is in the riverbed, let's keep moving forward," Pope says. For the rest, he said, he prays for his critics, even if they sometimes say "ugly things" about him.