Friday, April 15, 2022

Pope Francis speaks of hope in interview ahead of Easter


Pope Francis speaks with Lorena BianchettiPope Francis speaks with Lorena Bianchetti 

Pope: 'World has chosen Cain, but God never stops saving us'

Pope Francis grants a wide-ranging interview to Italian journalist Lorena Bianchetti of state-run TV station RAI, and says that, despite the horrific war in Ukraine and other tragedies around the globe, this Easter we must keep our hope, even if it seems unfulfilled in the short-term.

By Vatican News staff reporter

This Easter, Pope Francis has urged faithful never to lose hope. "Hope makes you wait, but it never disappoints," he said.

The Holy Father offered this reminder in an interview with Italian journalist Lorena Bianchetti, during a special edition of the 'A Sua Immagine' program of Italian state television channel, the RAI, which aired on Good Friday afternoon in Rome.

Let Jesus speak to you

On this Good Friday, the Pope gently suggests, "Before the Crucified Jesus, let your heart be touched. Let Him speak to you with His silence and His pain." 

During their conversation, the Pope and the television presenter covered a wide range of topics, including war, the pandemic, keeping the faith amid tragedy, and the fortitude of women.

When the Pope was asked his wish for this Easter, he spoke about the importance of finding internal joy. Despite all the desolation, he said, we must have hope and experience tears of joy.

“My wish is not to lose hope, the real hope, which does not disappoint.”

This Easter, amid war, the Pope said to ask for "the grace of tears," "but tears of joy, of consolation, and of hope."

"I am certain, and I repeat it, that we need to cry more." He lamented that humanity has forgotten how to cry, saying, "Let us ask Peter who teaches us how to cry how he did." The Holy Father also called for silence this Good Friday. 

The Holy Father confided, "One of the things I learned is not to speak when someone is suffering."

Wide-ranging conversation

During the interview, the Pope reflected on the drama of war throughout the world, with particular attention dedicated to the war in Ukraine, which according to recent figures, has forced more than 4.7 million to flee the country, especially mothers and children.

The Pope stressed we must be close to those suffering, and must treat all affected by this war and wars worldwide with equal dignity. He warned against categorizing refugees and migrants into classes or by what they look like.

The Pope reminded that our Lord Jesus was a migrant and refugee in Egypt, while also warning against the "disease of hatred." 

Devil seduces... beware

Pope Francis stessed that the devil "is a seducer," who presents "something beautiful in sin" and leads to sin.

“The devil is not a myth, but a reality.”

Due to this constant battle between man and the devil, he said, "We need meekness, that humility of saying to God: 'I am a sinner, but You save me. Help me!'"

The Holy Father cautioned as well against exploitation, which constitutes another "war" which "also destroys," even if it does so without tanks.

'Women are strong'

Women, the Pope said, are "strong."

A mother, he acknowledged, "is capable of accompanying her children to the end." Women, he said, know what it means to 'prepare life' and what death is." "They speak that language," he said.

“It takes women to sound the alarm.”

Flipping through pages of the Gospel, the Holy Father recalled the wife of Pontius Pilate. "She says to her husband, 'Do not meddle with this righteous man.' But Pilate does not listen to her."

War and loneliness

The Pope reflected about the "monstrosity" of war. He applauded efforts to silence weapons and to promote peace talks, but lamented that, thus far, these attempts have not been successful.

The Holy Father also reflected on the many types of loneliness. Recalling the Extraordinary Statio Orbis in St. Peter's Square on 27 March 2020 for an end to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pope said, "I did not know that the square would be empty."

"It was a message from the Lord to understand loneliness well." 

God has been good to me

"Have you ever felt alone in carrying out your ministry?" Bianchetti asked the Pope.

“No. God has been good to me. He makes himself present. He has been very generous. Perhaps because He knows that I cannot do it alone.”

Referring to some wounds affecting the Church, the Pope decried the spirit of worldliness, which he said greatly hurts the Church.

"When it falls into the worldly spirit, the Church is defeated," he said. 

The journalist asked Pope Francis how we can forgive people who hurt us. To this question, the Pope recalls how God, despite what we may have done in the past, is willing to forgive us with His Divine Mercy.

Silence on Good Friday

At the conclusion of the conversation, the presentator noted that it was almost three o'clock in the afternoon, and asked how we should live this hour.

The question remained suspended: Pope Francis, for a few seconds, remained silent.

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