Francis offers message of hope to a world in lockdown

Pope Francis leads a prayer service in an empty St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on March 27 (CNS/Yara Nardi, pool via Reuters)

Pope Francis has offered a powerful message of hope during the coronavirus pandemic, in his first ever interview with a British journalist. Source: The Tablet.

By Christopher Lamb, The Tablet

Francis said the COVID-19 pandemic was a “place of conversion”, a chance we must not let slip away.

And he said the Church would come out of the crisis with its institutions reconfigured according to the spirit of early Christianity, and less attached to “certain ways” of thinking.

Francis was speaking to papal biographer Austen Ivereigh in his first English language interview with Catholic media and his first with a British journalist.

He focused on his response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“What we are living now is a place of conversion, and we have the chance to begin. So let’s not let it slip from us, and let’s move ahead,” he said.

We have to respond to confinement with creativity. “We can either get depressed and alienated – through media that can take us out of our reality – or we can get creative.”

He explained what he meant by conversion: “Go down into the underground, and pass from the hyper-virtual, fleshless world to the suffering flesh of the poor. This is the conversion we have to undergo. And if we don’t start there, there will be no conversion.”

The Pope sent a recorded audio reply to a series of questions, and in one of them Dr Ivereigh asked if the 83-year-old Roman pontiff saw the future of the Church as “less attached” to institutions.

“Less attached to institutions? I’d say less attached to certain ways of thinking,” Francis replied.

“We have to learn to live in a Church that exists in the tension between harmony and disorder provoked by the Holy Spirit. If you ask me which book of theology can best help you understand this, it would be the Acts of the Apostles. There you will see how the Holy Spirit de-institutionalises what is no longer of use, and institutionalises the future of the Church. That is the Church that needs to come out of the crisis.”

FULL STORY

The Pope’s message of hope for a world in lockdown (The Tablet)

Pope Francis says pandemic can be a ‘place of conversion’ (The Tablet)

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