Pope Francis during press conference on plane: Venezuela, celibacy, sex education...
Pope Francis' press conference aboard the papal plane touched on many themes, everything from politics to religion. He spoke about the situation in Venezuela, priestly celibacy and his impressions of WYD.
Additionally, he gave a veiled answer to the doubts raised by some cardinals about Amoris Laetitia.
"I support all the Venezuelan people at this moment. They are a people that are suffering, including those who are on both sides. Yet, the whole population suffers. If I went in and said, 'listen to these countries, or listen to these others who say this;' I would put myself in a role that I do not know. It would be pastoral imprudence on my part, and it would be painful. I thought about my words, I reflected a lot on them. I think that with this I expressed my closeness, what I feel. I suffer from what is happening in Venezuela at this time. That's why I want you to agree. Not saying 'agree' is fine, but, a just and peaceful solution. What shocks me? Bloodshed. I also ask for greatness to assist those who can help resolve the problem. The problem of violence terrifies me. After all the effort made in Colombia, what happened in the cadet school the other day was terrifying. Bloodshed is not a solution. That's why I have to be... I do not like the word 'balanced,' I have to be a 'pastor.' Everyone. And if they need help, by common consent, they can ask for it.”
"My mission, also at WYD, is the mission of Peter, to confirm in the faith. That is not with cold or obligatory mandates, but in touching hearts and responding to what happened." "This is how I conceive the pope's mission and how I live it. There were cases, for example, that a dogmatic problem was raised. I cannot answer to reason alone. I have to act differently."
"The scale of whether a trip meets expectations is the level of exhaustion. I'm depleted." "In Panama, I had a new feeling. I know Latin America, but Panama, no. This word came to me: Panama is a noble nation. I have found nobility." "What is pride, in this case for the Panamanians? They would raise their children up (so that I could see them). They raise their children up and they tell you: This is my victory, this is my future, this is my pride. This, in the demographic winter we are experiencing in Europe, with Italy below zero, should lead us to ask ourselves what our pride is. Tourism? A house? A puppy? Or raising up a child?"
"I think that in schools you have to give sex education. Sex is a gift from God, it's not a monster. It is God's gift in order to love. That some people use it to earn money, to exploit others, is another problem. But we must give sexual education - objective, as it is - without ideological colonization. But if you give sexual education full of ideological colonizations, you destroy the person."
WHAT PUSHES YOUNG PEOPLE AWAY FROM THE CHURCH?
"There are many things (that keep young people away from the faith), but the most general reason, I think, is first the lack of Christians witnesses: priests, bishops. I can't speak about the popes because... but also them."
"A phrase by St. Paul VI comes to mind: 'I prefer to give my life before changing the law on celibacy.' There would be some possibility (to change it) only for remote places, like the Pacific Islands. It is something that must be considered when there is a pastoral need, the pastor must think of his faithful ones."
It was a 45-minute long meeting in which journalists saw the pope visually tired, but pleased at what he had experienced at WYD in Panama.