Pope Francis: When I had to say something that I didn't like to Turkey, but of which I was sure, I said it, with the consequences that you all know (Editor's note: a reference to his comments on the Armenian Genocide). I said these words … I was sure … I didn't speak because I am still not sure with the information that I received on what is happening there. And I listen to the information that is arriving in the Secretariat of State and some important political analyst, I am studying the situation even with the councilors of the Secretariat of State and the thing still isn't clear. It's true, harm to Catholics must always be avoided, and all of us do this...but not at the price of the truth! There is the virtue of prudence; this must be said, when, how, but in my case, you are my witnesses that when I've had to say something that involves Turkey, I've said it.
Fr. Lombardi: Now we give the word to Frances D'Emilio, who is a colleague from the Associated Press, the large English-language agency
Frances D'Emilio, AP: Good evening. My question is a question that many are asking in these days because it has come to light in Australia that the Australian police would be investigating new accusations against Cardinal Pell, and that this time the accusations involve the abuse of minors that are very different from the previous accusations. So, the question that I ask which many others ask is: according to you, what would be the right thing for Cardinal Pell to do, given his serious situation and in such an important position and the confidence that he enjoys from you?
Pope Francis: Thank you. The first information that arrived was confusing. It was news from 40 years back that not even the police made a case about at first. It was a confusing thing. Then, all the rest of the accusations were sent to justice. Right now, they are in the hands of justice. And one mustn't judge before justice judges, eh. If I were to say a judgement in favor of or against Cardinal Pell, it wouldn't be good because I (would) judge before. It's true that there there is doubt and there's that clear principal of the law: in dubio pro reo (Editor's note: the phrase is a Latin expression meaning in favor of the alleged guilty party), no? But, we must wait for justice and not make a first judgement ourselves, a media trial, or...because this doesn't help. The judgement of gossip and then, one can...we don't know what the result will be but be attentive to what justice decides. Once justice speaks, I will speak. Thank you.
Fr. Lombardi: Now we give the word to Hernan Reyes from TELAM, I ask you to come near. As we know he's Argentine and represents Latin America in the midst of us.
Hernan Reyes, TELAM: Holiness, how are you after your fall the other day? We hope that you are well...after the fall...
Pope Francis: Ah! The fall.
Reyes: This is the first question...and the second question, last week the secretary-general of UNASUR, Ernesto Samper, spoke about a mediation from the Vatican in Venezuela. Is this a concrete dialogue? Is this a real possibility, and how do you think that this mission with the mission of the Church can help in the stabilization of the country?
Pope Francis: First, the fall: I was looking at the Madonna and I forgot about the stairs. I was with the thurible in hand. And when I felt that I was falling, I let myself fall and this saved me, because if I had made some resistance, I would have had consequences. Nothing. I am wonderful, I am very well.
The second, the second was? Venezuela. With Venezuela, two years ago I had a very, very positive meeting with president Maduro...then he asked for an audience last year, it was Sunday, the day after arriving from Sarajevo. But then he cancelled that because he was very sick with an ear infection and couldn't come. Then after this I let some time go by and I wrote a letter to him. Then, there were contacts...you mentioned one...of an eventual meeting. Yes, yes. With the conditions that are made in this case. And if you think, right now...I am not sure, I can't guarantee this, eh. Clear? I am not sure! But I think that in the group of the mediation, someone, and I'm not sure if the government also - but I'm not sure - wants a representative from the Holy See. This until the moment that I left Rome. But things are there. In the group there is Zapatero from Spain, Torrijos and another, three...and a fourth that is said from the Holy See...but of this I am not sure. Okay.
Fr. Lombardi: Now we give the word to Antoine Marie Izoard, from France. We know what France is living these days.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Antoine Marie Izoarde, i.Media: Holy Father, before all I make the congratulations to you and Father Lombardi and also to Fr. Spadaro for the feast of St. Ignatius, if you allow me. The question is a little difficult: Catholics are a bit in shock, and not only in France, after the barbarous assassination of Fr. Jacques Hamel - as you know well - in his church while celebrating the Holy Mass. Four days ago you here told us that all religions want peace. But this holy, 86-year-old priest was clearly killed in the name of Islam. So Holy Father, I have two brief questions: why do you, when you speak of these violent events, always speak of terrorists, but never of Islam, never use the word Islam? And then, aside from prayer and dialogue, which are obviously essential, what concrete initiatives can you advise or suggest in order to counteract Islamic violence? Thank you, Holiness.
Pope Francis: I don't like to speak of Islamic violence, because every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy… this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law… and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence . . . and no, not all Muslims are violent, not all Catholics are violent. It is like a fruit salad; there's everything. There are violent persons of this religion… this is true: I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists. Fundamentalists. We have them. When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language -- the Apostle James says this, not me -- and even with a knife, no? I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence. This is not right or true. I had a long conversation with the imam, the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar University, and I know how they think . . . They seek peace, encounter . . . The nuncio to an African country told me that the capital where he is there is a trail of people, always full, at the Jubilee Holy Door. And some approach the confessionals -- Catholics -- others to the benches to pray, but the majority go forward, to pray at the altar of Our Lady... these are Muslims, who want to make the Jubilee. They are brothers, they live… When I was in Central Africa, I went to them, and even the imam came up on the Popemobile… We can coexist well… But there are fundamentalist groups, and even I ask… there is a question… How many young people, how many young people of our Europe, whom we have left empty of ideals, who do not have work… they take drugs, alcohol, or go there to enlist in fundamentalist groups. One can say that the so-called ISIS, but it is an Islamic State which presents itself as violent . . . because when they show us their identity cards, they show us how on the Libyan coast how they slit the Egyptians' throats or other things… But this is a fundamentalist group which is called ISIS… but you cannot say, I do not believe, that it is true or right that Islam is terrorist.
Izoard: Your concrete initiatives to counteract terrorism, violence?
Pope Francis: Terrorism is everywhere. You think of the tribal terrorism of some African countries. It is terrorism and also . . . But I don't know if I say it because it is a little dangerous… Terrorism grows when there are no other options, and when the center of the global economy is the god of money and not the person -- men and women -- this is already the first terrorism! You have cast out the wonder of creation -- man and woman -- and you have put money in its place. This is a basic terrorism against all of humanity! Think about it!
Fr. Lombardi: Thank you, Holiness. Seeing as how the announcement was made this morning of Panama as the next World Youth Day, there was a colleague here who wanted to give you a small gift in order to prepare yourself for this event.