Pope Francis: First of all, this makes me think of the love of the family, because to separate into two and three [parts] is not a beautiful thing... If there is always nostalgia to meet again, then to separate so that the family lacks nothing is an act of love. At Mass, yesterday’s Mass, we heard in the last petition from that lady who was working abroad to help her family. A separation like that is always sad. But why do they leave? It is not for tourism, but for necessity, necessity. So many times it is because in the country you do not find... so many times it is the results of world politics that affects this. I know the history of your country, that after the fall of communism and after, so, so many foreign companies closed to open abroad and earn more. And this is a worldwide, a global injustice of lack of solidarity. A suffering. How to fight it? Trying to open sources of work... it is not easy, it is not easy in the global situation of finances and of the economy.
But think, you have an impressive level of births. Here [in Romania] you do not see the demographic winter that is seen in Europe. It is an injustice to not be able to see sources of work for so many young people... for this I wish that it will be resolved, this situation that does not depend only on Romania but on the global financial order, on this consumeristic society, on having more, on earning more. And so many people remain there, alone. My answer is an appeal to global solidarity at this moment that Romania has the presidency of the United Nations [Ed. note: he meant European Union], look at it a little. Thank you.
Gisotti: Now Cristian Micaci from Radio Maria Romania asks the question and Xavier Le Normand prepares.
Cristian Micaci (Radio Maria Romania): Holy Father, as the director said earlier, you have spoken a lot about walking together. Now, at your departure, I would like to ask, what would you advise us Romanians, what should be the relationship between the confessions, in a particular way between the Catholic Church and Orthodox, between the Catholic minority and the Orthodox majority? The relationship between the various [unclear], and the relationship between the political world and civil society?
Pope Francis: A relationship in general, I would say; the relationship of the outstretched hand when there are conflicts. Today a developing country with a high level of births, as you with this future, cannot be under the illusion of having an incident... a process of approach must always be made, different ethnic groups, different religious denominations, especially the two Christian, this is the first: always the outstretched hand listening to the other.
With the Orthodox you have a great patriarch, a man of great heart and a great scholar. He understands the mysticism of the Desert Fathers, the spiritual mysticism, he studied in Germany, he is also a man of prayer... It is easy to be close to [Patriarch] Daniel, it is easy because he feels like a brother, and we spoke like brothers... I will not say [what was said] because you... and he will not say because you... But we go forward together.
I always have this idea: Ecumenism is not reaching the end of the game, of the discussion. Ecumenism is walking together, walking together, praying together... The ecumenism of prayer. In history, we have the ecumenism of blood. When they killed Christians they did not ask: Are you Catholic? Are you Orthodox? Are you Lutheran? No, [they asked] are you Christian! And the blood mixed together. It is the ecumensim of witness. Another ecumenism, of prayer, of blood... and then the ecumenism of the poor, those that work together. That we must work to help the sick, the inferm, for example, the people that are a little at the margin, below the poverty line, to help. “Matthew 25” is a beautiful ecumenical program, it comes from Jesus. To walk together: this is already Christian unity, but do not wait for theologians to agree to arrive at communion. Communion happens every day with prayer, with the memory of our martyrs, with works of charity and even of loving one another.
In one European city there is a good relationship between the Catholic archbishop and the Lutheran archbishop. [Once] the Catholic archbishop should have come to the Vatican Sunday evening and he called to say that he would arrive monday morning. When he arrived he told me: “Sorry, but yesterday the Lutheran archbishop should have gone to one of their meetings and he asked me to please go to his cathedral and lead the worship.” This is fraternity, to arrive to this much... and the Catholic bishop held the service. He did not do the Eucharist, but the service. This is...
When I was in Buenos Aires I was invited by the Scottish Church to preach a few times, and I went there to hold the service... you can walk together... unity, brotherhood, outstretched hand, be careful not to talk about others. We all have faults, everyone, if we walk together we leave faults aside, the criticisms of a scapegoater [zitellone].
Gisotti: Now Xavier Le Normand from I.Media France asks the question and Manuela Tulli prepares.
Xavier Le Normand (I.Media): Holiness, my question follows the previous one. On the first day of this trip you went to the Orthodox cathedral for this beautiful, but also a little hard, moment of the Our Father prayer. A little hard because if Catholics and Orthodox were together, they did not pray together. You spoke about the ecumenism of prayer. So, my question is, Your Holiness, what did you think when he [Ed. note: Orthodox Patriarch Daniel] remained in silence during the Our Father prayer in Romanian? [Ed. note: Orthodox do not formally pray with Catholics.] And what are the next concrete steps in this journey together. Thank you, Your Holiness.
Pope Francis: I will tell you something confidential. I did not remain in silence. I prayed the Our Father in Italian -- [aside] also you, okay -- and I saw during the Our Father service the major part of people were praying, both in Romanian and in Latin. The people go beyond us leaders. We leaders must make diplomatic balances to ensure that we go together, there are habits, diplomatic rules that it is good to keep, so that things do not get ruined. But the people pray together, even us when we are alone, we pray together. This is a witness, I have the experience of prayer with many, many pastors: Lutherans, Evangelicals, and even Orthodox. The patriarchs are open and yes, even us Catholics we have closed people that do not want, that say that the Orthodox are schismatics. These are old things. The Orthodox are Christians. These Catholic groups are a little bit fundamentalist. We should tolerate them, pray for them, so that the Lord with the Holy Spirit softens their hearts. But I prayed during both [Our Fathers]. I did not watch [Patriarch] Daniel, but I believe that he did the same.
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Gisotti: Thank you, Holy Father, now the question will be asked by Manuela Tulli of ANSA.
Manuela Tulli (ANSA): Thank you, Holy Father. We were in Romania, a country that has shown itself to be European. In these [European] elections some political leaders, like our vice premier Matteo Salvini, have made electoral campaigns with the display of religious symbols. In the rallies we saw rosaries, crosses, consecration to the Heart of Immaculate Mary. I wanted to know what impression this made on you, and if it is true, as is heard in some conversations, that you do not want to meet our vice premier?
Pope Francis: First I will begin with the second question. I have not heard from anyone in the [Italian] government, except the premier [who] had requested an audience, no one. For an audience you should speak to the Secretary of State, you should request an audience. The premier, Conte, has asked, it was done as the protocol indicates. It was a nice audience with the premier, of an hour or maybe more, an intelligent man, a professor that knows how to speak. Second: I have not received a request from the vice premier, nothing, and neither from other ministers. Yes, I have received one from the president of the Republic [of Italy].
Second, on these images. [Ed. note: here the pope seems to be referring to photos of Matteo Salvini at a recent political rally in Milan] I have confessed many times that I only read two newspapers: the newspaper of the party, that is, L'Osservatore Romano, this I read (it would be nice for you all to read it, because there are very interesting interpretations in it. And also things there that I tell you.) The newspaper of the party and Il Messaggero. I like Il Messaggero because it has large headlines, I browse like that, sometimes I stop there. I have not entered into this news of propaganda, how a party has made election propaganda.
Truly, if I... there is a third element. I confess I am ignorant of this and I do not understand Italian politics. And true, I should study it. I do not understand it -- to give an opinion on attitudes of an electoral campaign of one of the parties, without information, would be very unwise on my part. I pray for all, so that Italy goes forward, so that Italians unite and are loyal in their compromises, because I am Italian, because I am the son of an Italian immigrant, Italian blood. My brothers all have [Italian] citizenship, I did not want to have it because at the time they granted it I was a bishop and the bishop must be in the native country, and I did not want to get [Italian] citizenship. And that is why I haven’t...
There is the sickness of corruption in the politics of many countries, many. Everywhere. Everywhere. (Do not say tomorrow that the pope said that Italian politics are corrupt. No! I said that one of the policial sicknesses everywhere is slipping into corruption. Please do not make me say that which I have not said.) One time that told me how political pacts are. Imagine a meeting of [unclear] businessmen at a table. They discuss making a development agreement for their businesses, and after hours and hours and hours and coffee and coffee and coffee they are in agreement... they have taken the minutes, they summarize the rules of agreement... agreed, agreed. While they print it, they take a whiskey to celebrate, and then they start passing around the papers to sign the agreement. The moment the papers go around the table (me and the other one) I make another [agreement] under the table. This is political corruption, which is done a little everywhere. We must help politicians to be honest, not to campaign with dishonest flags, calumny, defamation, scandals... and often, sowing hatred and fear. This is terrible, a politician must never, ever sow hatred and fear, only hope. Fair, demanding, but hope, because he must lead a country there and not give it fear. I do not know if I answered. But on the details of politicians’ conduct, I do not know.