Pope Francis to Jesuit magazine: "I believe that the Pope's ministry should be for life"

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During his trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pope Francis met with a group of local Jesuits. Recently, the magazine, La Civiltà Cattolica, published the content of that meeting.

In the audience, the Pope mourned that 'the whole world is at war' and asked people not to forget the conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and Myanmar.

But the statements that have drawn the most attention are about the papacy. Pope Francis explicitly said that the papacy should be for life, if no illness prevents proper governance. He added that, if instead of continuing this 'historical tradition, we are only concerned with gossip, we should change popes every six months.'

Pope Francis also explained that when he is sad, his greatest consolation is the believers. He called them 'the sinful but believing people of God' and he asked priests to be shepherds rather than state clergymen.

In the meeting, the Pope ruled out the possibility of a synod on the Congo like the one in the Amazon—despite them being ecologically similar. He called the richness of the Congolese rite—which he celebrated once in the country and twice in the Vatican—a liturgical and poetic work of art.

La Civiltà Cattolica also published another of Pope Francis' meetings in Juba with Jesuits of Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The Pope told them that Christian culture is not one-sided nor does it achieve its strength through uniformity. He emphasized that it requires the ability to discern and live the Christian message.

Pope Francis pointed out that Christians today must learn to live in a pagan context that is not too different from that of the early Christians.



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