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.
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.
Gisotti: Holy Father, now a question will be asked by Eva Fernandez, the journalist of COPE and also a little bit the embajadora de Espana [the Spanish ambassador], as you know, since she often brings you gifts from Spain.
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Eva Fernandez (COPE): Holy Father, yesterday in the meeting with young people and families you insisted again on the importance of the relationship between grandparents and young people so that young people have roots to move forward and so that grandparents can dream. Holy Father, you do not have a family nearby, but you have said that Benedict XVI is like having a grandfather at home. Do you continue to see him as a grandfather?
Pope Francis: More. Every time I go to visit him I feel like that, I take his hand and get him to talk. He speaks little, slowly, but with the same depth as always, because Benedict's problem is his knees, not his head. He has a great lucidity, as always. When I hear him speak, I become strong. I hear this history of the Church, which is not something like a museum, tradition. No, tradition is like a root which gives us the juice to grow and so you would become like roots, no! You flower, you grow, you give fruit, and you are the seeds that are the roots of the other. The tradition of the Church is always in motion.
In an interview made by Andrea Monda in L'Osservatore Romano a few days ago (do you read L'Osservatore Romano?) there was a situation of the musician Gustav Mahler that I liked so much. Speaking of tradition, he said that tradition is the guarantee of the future and not the keeper of ashes. It is not a museum. Tradition does not preserve ashes; the nostalgia of fundamentalists [is] to return to the ashes. No, tradition is the roots that guarantee the tree grows, flowers and gives fruit. I repeat with that piece by the Argentine poet I like so much: "All that the tree has in bloom comes from that which it has underground."
I am happy because yesterday I referenced that grandmother... it was a gesture of understanding with the eyes. At that moment I was so emotional, that I did not react and then the popemobile went ahead and I could not tell this grandmother to come, to show this gesture, and I said to the Lord Jesus: "It is a pain, but you have the ability to solve it!" And our good Francesco, when he saw the communication I had with that woman with her eyes, snapped a photo and it is now public, I saw it this afternoon on Vatican Insider. These are the roots. This will grow, it will not be like me, but I give my [roots]. These encounters are important.
Then there are the teachings, right? When the grandparents feel they have grandchildren who will carry on the story, they begin to dream. Grandparents, when they do not dream, become down, depressed. There is a future, and young people encouraged by that begin to prophesy and make history. It is important.
Gisotti: I think we have time for one more question, from Lucas Wiegelmann of Herder Correspondenz, if you can get closer.