During an inflight press conference on his way back from Africa last week Pope Francis criticised “fundamentalists” within the Church.
Asked about religious fundamentalism in light of the Paris attacks, the Pope responded by saying that “we are all God’s children, we all have the same Father … we need to live peacefully alongside one another, develop friendships.”
He added: “Fundamentalism is a sickness that is in all religions. We Catholics have some – and not some, many – who believe they possess the absolute truth and go ahead dirtying the other with calumny, with disinformation, and doing evil. They do evil. I say this because it is my Church.”
The Pope said religious fundamentalism was not religion but idolatry, adding that false certainties took the place of faith and love of God and others. “You cannot cancel a whole religion because there is a group or many groups of fundamentalists at certain moments of history,” he said.
Pope Francis was asked if he thought the Church “should change its teaching” on the use of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV. He said an ongoing question for moral theology was whether condoms in that case were an instrument to prevent death or a contraceptive – in which case they would violate Church teaching on openness to life. But, he said, the question was too narrow. People are dying because of a lack of clean water and adequate food. Once the world takes serious steps to solve those problems, then it would be “legitimate to ask whether it is licit” to use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. Francis also told reporters that “the crowds, the joy, the ability to celebrate even with an empty stomach” were impressions he would take home with him after his six-day African trip.
Poor and homeless invited to Vatican film premiere
Rome’s poor and homeless received star treatment at a film premiere at the Vatican last week.
The world premiere of Call Me Francesco, the first film based on the life of Pope Francis, took place in the Vatican audience hall and those considered celebrities in the eyes of the Pope were in attendance.
A statement from the papal almoner’s office said: “To this exceptional premiere, the Holy Father wished to invite the poor, the homeless, refugees and the people most in need, together with the volunteers, Religious and lay people, who work daily in charity.” Parishes and charitable associations in Rome were given 7,000 tickets for the poor to attend the premiere at the Vatican. The night also included a concert featuring the Pontifical Swiss Guard’s musical band. The papal almoner’s office said that many of the Swiss Guards offered to play during their free time as a gift to the homeless.
The poor were also offered a dinner “donated for the occasion by several benefactors”. Directed by Italian filmmaker Daniele Luchetti, Call Me Francesco recounts the life of Jorge Mario Bergoglio until his election as Pope.
El Salvador urged to re-open case
Religious and human rights groups have urged the Salvadoran government to re-open the investigation of the 1980 kidnapping and murder of three US nuns and a lay missionary.
The four were among 75,000 killed during El Salvador’s civil war. Claire White, daughter of the late US ambassador, said it was vital that the “masterminds of this crime do not walk free”.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.