Skip to comments.Pope answers questions about Curia reforms, gay lobby [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 07/29/2013 7:44:05 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
Jul-29-2013 (1,030 words) With photos. xxxi
Pope answers questions about Curia reforms, gay lobby
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM BRAZIL (CNS) -- Pope Francis said he was responding to the clear wishes of the College of Cardinals when he set up commissions to study the Vatican bank, Vatican financial and administrative procedures and the reform of the Roman Curia.
The pope also said he knows people have spoken about some kind of "gay lobby" at the Vatican protecting certain priests by threatening to blackmail others. The pope said the "lobbying" is what is worrisome.
Pope Francis held his first news conference July 28, shortly after the Alitalia flight taking him back to Rome departed from Rio de Janeiro. He answered questions from 21 journalists over a period of 80 minutes. The questions were not submitted in advance and no topics were ruled out of bounds.
Asked about the Vatican bank, Pope Francis said he does not know what will become of the Institute for the Works of Religion, which is the formal name of the scandal-plagued bank. He has appointed an outside commission and is involved in discussions about how to organize it, "how to restore it, reformulate it."
But he also told journalists traveling with him that "transparency and honesty" were essential at the Vatican bank and that while moral failures by clergy caused scandal and pain, people also needed to recognize that sometimes the media and the public go searching for scandal.
Referring to the institute by its Italian initials, IOR, the pope said, some have suggested it should become a real bank, others say it should be a "charitable fund, others say it should be closed. I don't know. I have confidence in the work of the people at IOR, who are working a lot, and in the commission," studying the bank and its role in the universal mission of the church.
"Whatever it ends up being -- whether a bank or a charitable fund -- transparency and honesty are essential," he said.
As for the wider reform of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis said everything he has done so far flows from the concerns and suggestions raised by the College of Cardinals during the meetings they held before the conclave that elected Pope Francis in March.
The cardinals, he said, expressed "what they wanted of the new pope -- they wanted a lot of things" -- but a key part of it was that the Vatican central offices be more efficient and more clearly at the service of the universal church.
"There are saints who work in the Curia -- cardinals, bishops, priests, sisters, laity; I've met them," he said, they include those who work full time, then do volunteer work, feed the poor, help out in parishes on weekends.
The media only writes about the sinners and the scandals, he said, but that's normal, because "a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows."
Pope Francis himself described as "a scandal" the case of Msgr. Nunzio Scarano, a now-suspended official from the Vatican investment office, who was arrested in Italy June 28 on charges that he allegedly tried to help smuggle millions of euros into Italy from Switzerland.
"He didn't go to jail because he's a saint," the pope said.
Pope Francis was asked about Msgr. Battista Ricca, whom he named interim prelate of the Vatican bank. The monsignor, who had served in the Vatican diplomatic corps, was director of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Vatican residence where the pope lives.
Soon after his nomination was announced, an Italian magazine published a story claiming Msgr. Ricca had been sent away from a nunciature in Latin American when it was learned that he had a male lover.
Pope Francis told reporters, "I did what canon law said must be done, I ordered an 'investigation brevia,' and this investigation found nothing."
The pope continued by talking about how "many times in the church, outside this case, but also in this one, we go searching for the sins -- of one's youth, for example -- for publicity. I'm not talking about crimes here -- the abuse of a minor is a crime -- but of sins."
"But if a person, whether a layperson, priest or sister, goes to confession and converts, the Lord forgives. And when the Lord forgives, he forgets. This is important," he said, because those who want the Lord to forget their sins should forget those of others.
"St. Peter committed one of the biggest sins ever -- he denied Christ -- and he made him pope," Pope Francis said.
Addressing the issue of the gay lobby, Pope Francis said it was important to "distinguish between a person who is gay and someone who makes a gay lobby," he said. "A gay lobby isn't good."
"A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will -- well, who am I to judge him?" the pope said. "The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says one must not marginalize these persons, they must be integrated into society. The problem isn't this (homosexual) orientation -- we must be like brothers and sisters. The problem is something else, the problem is lobbying either for this orientation or a political lobby or a Masonic lobby."
The so-called "VatiLeaks" scandal, which disrupted the end of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate, was another issue reporters brought up. The scandal involved the leaking of private correspondence -- including to and from the pope. Pope Benedict's butler was tried, convicted and jailed for giving papers to a journalist, but a commission of three cardinals also conducted a wider investigation into how information is used and shared at the Vatican.
All the information collected by the cardinals was given to Pope Francis when he met Pope Benedict at Castel Gandolfo shortly after being elected.
Pope Francis told reporters the large box shown on a table in photos of his meeting with the retired pope contained transcripts of all the interviews conducted during the investigation. The envelope on top of the box contained the summary, a summary Pope Benedict knew almost by heart and explained to Pope Francis, he said.
"It didn't frighten me, but it's a big problem," Pope Francis said.
Papa Francisco: "¿Quién soy yo para criticar a un gay?"
- Are you scared when he saw the report Vatileaks?
-No. -No. Les voy a contar una anécdota sobre el informe Vatileaks. Let me tell you a story about the report Vatileaks. Cuando fui a ver al papa Benedicto , después de rezar en la capilla nos reunimos en el estudio y había una caja grande y un sobre. When I went to see Pope Benedict , after praying in the chapel we met in the studio and had a big box and an envelope. Benedicto me dijo: 'en esta caja grande están todas las declaraciones que han prestado los testigos. Benedict said, 'in this big box are all statements that have provided witnesses. Y el resumen y las conclusiones finales están en este sobre. And the summary and conclusions are in this envelope. Y aquí se dice ta, ta, ta.' And here is said ta, ta, ta. ' ¡Lo tenía todo en la cabeza! I had it all in his head! Pero no, no me asusté. But no, I was scared. Es un problema grande, pero no me he asustado. It is a big problem, but I have not scared.
- Una pregunta un poco delicada. - A question a little delicate. La historia de monseñor Ricca ha dado la vuelta al mundo, ¿cómo va a afrontar este asunto y todo lo relacionado con el supuesto lobby gay en el Vaticano? The story of Monsignor Ricca has been around the world, how will you address this issue and everything related to the alleged gay lobby in the Vatican?
-Con respecto a monseñor Ricca, he hecho lo que el derecho canónico manda hacer, que es la investigación previa. -With regard to Bishop Ricca, I did what canon law commanded to do, which is previous research. Y esta investigación no dice nada de lo que se ha publicado. And this study says nothing about what has been published. No hemos encontrado nada. We have found nothing. Pero yo querría agregar una cosa: muchas veces en la Iglesia se va a buscar los pecados de juventud y se publican. But I would add one thing: many times in the Church is to find the sins of youth and published. Y hablo de pecados, no delitos como los abusos de menores. And speaking of sins, crimes such as child abuse. Pero si una persona -laica, cura, o monja- comete un pecado y luego se arrepiente, el Señor la perdona. But if a person-secular priest or nun commits a sin and then repents, the Lord forgives. Y cuando el Señor perdona, olvida. And when the Lord forgives, He forgets. Lo importante es hacer una teología del pecado. The important thing is to make a theology of sin. Muchas veces pienso en San Pedro: hizo de los peores pecados, renegar de Cristo. I often think of St. Peter made the worst sins, deny Christ. ¡Y con ese pecado lo hicieron Papa! And with that sin did Pope!
-¿Y el lobby gay? - And the gay lobby?
-Se escribe mucho del lobby gay. He writes a lot of the gay lobby. Todavía no me encontré con ninguno que me dé el carnet de identidad en el Vaticano donde lo diga. Yet I found none to give me photo ID at the Vatican that says so. Dicen que los hay. They say no. Cuando uno se encuentra con una persona así, debe distinguir entre el hecho de ser gay del hecho de hacer lobby, porque ningún lobby es bueno. When you meet a person, you must distinguish between being gay lobbying the fact, because no lobby is good. Si una persona es gay y busca al Señor y tiene buena voluntad, ¿quién soy yo para criticarlo? If a person is gay and seek the Lord and has good will, who am I to criticize? El catecismo de la Iglesia católica lo explica de forma muy linda esto. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it very cute this. Dice que no se deben marginar a estas personas por eso. He says that you should not marginalize people for that. Hay que integrarlas en la sociedad. Should be integrated into society. El problema no es tener esta tendencia. The problem is not having this trend. Debemos ser hermanos. We must be brothers. El problema es hacer un lobby. The problem is to make a lobby.
I am not troubled by it. I would be highly pleased if he refrained from using it ... referred to "sodomites" or some such instead ... but the propaganda term "gay" has so thoroughly infected common speech in many languages as to completely destroy any legitimate use of the word. About the only time anyone uses it legitimately is in a certain Christmas carol.
The letter can be found here.