"Church back 200 years"
The last interview: "Why do not you shake because we are afraid?"
Fr. Georg Sporschill, a fellow Jesuit who interviewed him in Conversations night in Jerusalem and met Federica Root Martini on 8 August: "A sort of spiritual testament. Cardinal Martini has read and approved the text. "
How do you see the situation of the Church?
"The Church is exhausted in Europe and America. Our culture has aged, our Churches are great, our religious houses are empty and the bureaucracy of the Church increases, our rituals and our clothes are pompous. These things express what we are today? (...) The welfare burden. We stand there like the rich young man who went away sad when Jesus called him to make him his disciple. I know that we can not let go of it all easily. But at least we can try to be men who are free and closer to the next level, as were Archbishop Romero and the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador. Where are our heroes to inspire us? For no reason we have to restrict the constraints of the institution. "
Who can help the Church today?
"Father Karl Rahner liked to use the image of the embers hidden under ashes. I see in the Church today so much ash over the coals that I am often overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness. Can you release the fire from the ash so as to revive the flame of love? First we have to look for this fire. Where are the single people full of generosity like the Good Samaritan? Who have faith like the Roman centurion? Who is as enthusiastic as John the Baptist? Who dare to be the new Paul? Who is as faithful as Mary Magdalene? I advise the Pope and the bishops to seek twelve people out of line for places directional. Men that are close to the poor and they are surrounded by young and they experience new things. We need the comparison with men who burn so that the spirit may spread everywhere. "
What tools recommended against fatigue of the Church?
"I have three that I would recommend very strongly. The first is conversion: the Church must recognize their mistakes and must follow a path of radical change, starting with the Pope and the bishops. The scandals of pedophilia push us to embark on a journey of conversion. Questions about sexuality and all issues involving the body are one part of this. These are important for everyone and sometimes maybe they are too important. We must ask ourselves if people still listens to the advice of the Church on sexual matters. Is the Church still an authority to consider in this area, or is it only the caricature seen in the media? The second tool I would recommend is the Word of God: The Second Vatican Council returned the Bible to Catholics. (...) Only the person who perceives in his heart this Word can be among those who help the renewal of the Church, and who will answer their own questions with a right choice. The Word of God is simple and appears to us like a companion: like a heart that listens (...). Neither the clergy nor the Right Church can replace the interiority of man. All external rules, laws, dogmas, there is no data to clarify the inner voice and the discernment of spirits. Who are the sacraments? These are the third instrument of healing. The sacraments are not a tool for discipline, but an aid to men in times of weakness and walk of life. We bring the sacraments to the people that need a new power? I think of all the divorced and remarried couples, families spread. They need special protection. The Church supports the indissolubility of marriage. It is a grace when a marriage and a family can (...). The attitude we take toward extended families will determine the approach to the Church of the procreation of children. A woman was abandoned by her husband and has a new partner who takes care of her and her three children. The second love fails. If this family is discriminated against, is cut off not only the mother but also his children. If parents are outside the Church or do not feel the support, the Church will lose the next generation. Before Communion we pray: "Lord I am not worthy ..." We know we are not worthy (...). Love is grace. Love is a gift. The question of whether the divorced can take Communion should be reversed. How can the Church get to help with the power of the sacraments to those who have complex family situations? "
What do you do personally?
"The Church is 200 years behind the times. Why do not you shake? What are we afraid of? Are we fearful instead of courageous? But faith is the foundation of the Church. Faith, confidence, courage. I am old and sick and depend on others. Good people around me make me feel love. This love is stronger than the feeling of distrust that sometimes is felt towards the Church in Europe. And only love conquers fatigue. God is Love. So I still have a question for you: what you can do for the Church?"
Georg Sporschill SJ, Federica Radice Fossati Confalonieri
September 1, 2012 (as amended September 2, 2012)
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