The Pope: how the Church will change –


Dialogue between Francis and La Repubblica's founder, Eugenio Scalfari: "Starting from the Second Vatican Council, open to modern culture". The conversation in the Vatican after the Pope's letter to La Repubblica: "Convert you? Proselytism is solemn nonsense. You have to meet people and listen to them."

Pope Francis told me: "The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don't even look for them any more. They have been crushed by the present. You tell me: can you live crushed under the weight of the present? Without a memory of the past and without the desire to look ahead to the future by building something, a future, a family? Can you go on like this? This, to me, is the most urgent problem that the Church is facing."

Your Holiness, I say, it is largely a political and economic problem for states, governments, political parties, trade unions.
"Yes, you are right, but it also concerns the Church, in fact, particularly the Church because this situation does not hurt only bodies but also souls. The Church must feel responsible for both souls and bodies."

Your Holiness, you say that the Church must feel responsible. Should I conclude that the Church is not aware of this problem and that you will steer it in this direction?
"To a large extent that awareness is there, but not sufficiently. I want it to be more so. It is not the only problem that we face, but it is the most urgent and the most dramatic."

The meeting with Pope Francis took place last Tuesday at his home in Santa Marta, in a small bare room with a table and five or six chairs and a painting on the wall. It had been preceded by a phone call I will never forget as long as I live.

It was half past two in the afternoon. My phone rings and in a somewhat shaky voice my secretary tells me: "I have the Pope on the line. I'll put him through immediately."

I was still stunned when I heard the voice of His Holiness on the other end of a the line saying, "Hello, this is Pope Francis." "Hello Your Holiness", I say and then, "I am shocked I did not expect you to call me." "Why so surprised? You wrote me a letter asking to meet me in person. I had the same wish, so I'm calling to fix an appointment. Let me look at my diary: I can't do Wednesday, nor Monday, would Tuesday suit you?"

I answer, that's fine.

"The time is a little awkward, three in the afternoon, is that okay? Otherwise it'll have to be another day." Your Holiness, the time is fine. "So we agree: Tuesday 24 at 3 o'clock. At Santa Marta. You have to come into the door at the Sant'Uffizio."

I don't know how to end this call and let myself go, saying: "Can I embrace you by phone?" "Of course, a hug from me too. Then we will do it in person, goodbye."

And here I am. The Pope comes in and shakes my hand, and we sit down. The Pope smiles and says: "Some of my colleagues who know you told me that you will try to convert me."


Written By: Eugenio Scalfari
continue to source article at


  1. ” This is Pope Francis. If the Church becomes like him and becomes what he wants it to be, it will be an epochal change. “

    A change perhaps, but on the fundamental issues dependent on dogma and ossification, abortion, birth control, women, sexual misconduct and a host of others, will it be a change for the better?

  2. The pope is in charge of the Catholic Church, not the world. His priority should be to clean up the church. He is ignoring the sins he is in control of.

    1. sexual abuse and rape of children.
    2. encouraging the discrimination and killing of homosexuals.
    3. meddling in non-Catholic contraception and abortion decisions
    4. meddling in non-Catholic end-of-life decisions
    5. ripping off the world’s poorest people with the old religious cons for his personal luxury.
  3. Would it be churlish and childish of me to suggest a more sinister reason why Pope Francis may have left his water untouched?

    Benedict XVI remains beloved on the Catholic sites I have begun to peruse again. I now see that some sophisticated believers are calling for a hermeneutic–the theological word for spin–of Francis’ interviews; a spoon-fed interpretation in an attempt to stop the laity from using words like apoplectic and heresy in their written responses to this new pope’s remarks.

    As far as this interview, I found it interesting that Francis referred to himself as the legitimately elected pope at least three times. Again I am thinking about that glass of water.

    On another note, did anyone see the President’s comments about Francis? The interviewer mentioned that Francis wants to steer the Church away from being obsessed about abortion and gays. Obama exhibited a fondness for the pope and said that embracing people and not condemning them was an attribute of any leader that he respected. I can almost hear the screams from the faithful, “but the pope is not just any leader!” Well, yes, he is and President Obama’s reaction was a deftly played kill-strike against religious exceptionalism.

    As I read how Catholic apologists are responding, I do not lie when I say I feel exactly what the Germans mean when they use the word schadenfreude: delight in seeing the wicked receiving their comeuppance. This Church remains an unequaled obstacle to secularism and science and it will be generations before its damage to society is lessened, if ever.

    I know the tone of my post is not entirely serious, but with any luck Francis is going to remain a very thirsty pope.


  4. I wonder if it has ever occurred to the pope that there may just be more work and resources available to the youth if, ahem, there were fewer young people around as a result of CONTRACEPTION practised by the poorest of the devout Catholic poor and others who are not allowed abortions at any cost ,even morning after pills.

  5. that guy doesn’t pray, he prefers to meditate 😀

    “… “when the conclave elected me Pope. Before I accepted I asked if I could spend a few minutes in the room next to the one with the balcony overlooking the square. My head was completely empty and I was seized by a great anxiety. To make it go way and relax I closed my eyes and made every thought disappear, even the thought of refusing to accept the position, as the liturgical procedure allows. I closed my eyes and I no longer had any anxiety or emotion. At a certain point I was filled with a great light. It lasted a moment, but to me it seemed very long.”

  6. “The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old”

    Ahem… His Wholesomeness has overlooked such minor evils as

    Child abuse by his church/
    The myth of Hell/
    Denigration of women by his church

    and a few others like Islam…

  7. Well Holy Jo hit one nail on the head:

    A religion without mystics is a philosophy.

    Seeing as religion is organised mysticism, he’s dead right !

  8. “And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.”

    Atheists among us have been saying this all along!
    Why, then, the dogma, the doctrine, the rituals, the saints, the suffering on the cross, the creator, the whole lot?

  9. I agree I don’t see what it is that this pope has done that’s different from the past. The dogma is still the same, the beliefs are still the same. All he seams to be doing is trying to diverted every one from the real problems of the church. And looking at all the excitement in the news his doing a great job.

    In reply to #2 by Roedy:

    The pope is in charge of the Catholic Church, not the world. His priority should be to clean up the church. He is ignoring the sins he is in control of.

    sexual abuse and rape of children.
    encouraging the discrimination and killing of homosexuals.
    meddling in non-Catholic contraception and aborti…

  10. In reply to #9 by juwakali:

    I agree I don’t see what it is that this pope has done that’s different from the past. The dogma is still the same, the beliefs are still the same. All he seams to be doing is trying to diverted every one from the real problems of the church. And looking at all the excitement in the news his doing a great job.

    His pet journalists help with the stories, but basically it’s the same rubbish product with a new salesman and a new advertising campaign!

  11. (Premise: sorry for my bad English)

    Do you think that this is an interview of a non-believer journalist (Scalfari) to a believer person (Bergoglio)?

    As all you have seen, towards the half of the article Bergoglio makes a question to Scalfari:
    “But now let me ask you a question: you, a secular non-believer in God, what do you believe in? […]”

    And Scalfari’s answer is:
    “[…] I believe in Being, that is in the tissue from which forms, bodies arise.”

    The pope conclude:
    “And I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being. Do you think we are very far apart?” […]

    The pope asks to Scalfari:
    “But can you define what you call Being?”

    And Scalfari’s answer is:
    “Being is a fabric of energy. Chaotic but indestructible energy and eternal chaos. Forms emerge from that energy when it reaches the point of exploding. The forms have their own laws, their magnetic fields, their chemical elements, which combine randomly, evolve, and are eventually extinguished but their energy is not destroyed. Man is probably the only animal endowed with thought, at least in our planet and solar system. I said that he is driven by instincts and desires but I would add that he also contains within himself a resonance, an echo, a vocation of chaos.”

    On one hand: Christ, Jesus, incarnation, God (non the Catholic but the only!), Father, Abba, light (different from the corpuscular/undulatory light?) and Creator.

    On the other hand: Being, Forms, bodies (Enti?), probably, resonance, echo, vocation of chaos.

    Fantasies and so on.

    But all this play is done only to cover what really happens behind the dialog between atheists and believers, at least in Italy but coming from the foreign countries.

    Hoping not to bother you writing too much, I would like to give you some tips.

    1) Definition of the Anti-Theists as bad (or at least not very good) persons by means of an article of Christopher F. Silver and Thomas J. Coleman III. See:

    2) In July from that article is born another article on the web site of the UAAR (Italian atheists).
    It is a bulletin signed from “Il comitato di coordinamento Uaar” (Uaar’s coordination committee). That bulletin underlines and emphasizes the fact that the Anti-Theists are – as shown by great scientists Silver and Coleman III) – bad, mean, nasty, asocial, solipsist, nonchalant of their public image and so on, blaming them as the cause for which the secularism in Italy do not give the better, so that Uaar’s coordination committee thinks it would be better if the Anti-Theists would do another association for themselves, and it has promised that, at the next congress of the UAAR (2 and 3 November 2013 in Rome), the things will be clarified. (By the way, I am an Anti-Theist even though I don’t recognize me in the definition given from Silver and Coleman III. In practice I never entered the Church since I am an atheist since I was 9, it was 48 years ago).

    3) On August 7th, Scalfari writes an article on La Repubblica trying to catch the attention of pope Bergoglio. See:

    4) On September 11th, pope Bergoglio answers to Scalfari. See:

    5) On September 24th, pope Ratzinger answers to Odifreddi. See:

    6) Pope Bergoglio phones to Scalfari to arrange an appointment for the interview that we are commentating here.

    Diversely from what you can think, all these things concern little the religion, to believe or non to believe, theists and atheists, and so on. It concerns the economic crisis and the need to find the social cohesion for to try to save together the decaying Occident.

    For to reach such a social cohesion everyone has to pay something.

    For example: the clergy have a little bit to step down from the throne and the secularists have a little bit to put a part the issue of the clergy pedophilia.

    They need to avoid that a malicious person breaks such idyll and everybody have to contribute to such target.
    Their solution seems to be that of “to expel” those who can break such a social cohesion, the anti-theists atheists for example, that notoriously are bad, mean, nasty, asocial, solipsist, nonchalant of their public image and so on. :-))

    By the way, while pope Bergoglio seems to act as a dear, he seems to have done also something else.

    The provincial secretary of Democrazia Atea – Roma ( informs us that ‘the recent rules introduced by Bergoglio establish, quotation: “whoever illegally gets or discloses information or documents of which the disclosure is forbidden, he or she is punished with the imprisonment from 6 months to 2 years […]”‘

    The provincial secretary of Democrazia Atea – Roma informs us also that all the documents and information concerning the clergy pedophilia (“Crimen sollicitationis”, “De delictis gravioribus”) seems to be under the “Secreta continere” which states the “pontifical secret” which must be guarded with serious obligation!

    In this situation the finger is the interview and the moon is something else.

    I apologize for the long writing.
    Best wishes to everybody.

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