On board Alitalia flight from Cuba to Washington
September 22, 2015
Question 1: Rosa Miriam:
Your Holiness, it’s been a true honor and pleasure to accompany you on this trip. (What are) your thoughts on the U.S. embargo of Cuba and are you going to speak about it before the U.S. Congress?
The problem of the embargo is part of the negotiations. This is public, right? Both presidents have referred to that. So it’s a public thing that is on the path, on the path of good relations which they are searching for, no? And I wish is that we reach a good conclusion in this, that there might be an agreement that satisfies both sides. An agreement, right? With respect to the position of the Holy See regarding embargoes. Previous Popes have spoken about this. Not just this one. There are other cases of embargoes. There’s social doctrine of the Church on it. I’m speaking about that. It’s very precise, very just. And, about the Congress of the United States, the speech is finished so I can’t say. No, better put I’m thinking well about what I might say about it. Specifically on that theme, the theme of bi-national or multi-national agreements as signs of progress in co-existence. That’s the sense. But that issue concretely… I’m remembering … because I don’t want to say MACANA (something wrong?). But this theme concretely isn’t mentioned. I’m sure it’s not. Ok?
Fr Lombardi: Good, now we give the floor to another Rosa. We have two women named Rose which is a good sign. Rosa D of CNN. To you, the floor. She may do it in Spanish, possibly. Do it in Spanish and the Pope will reply in Italian.
Good afternoon Holy Father. Rosa Flores of CNN. We understand the more than 50 dissidents were arrested outside the nunciature as they were trying to have a meeting with you. First, would you like to have a meeting with the dissidents and if you had that meeting what would you say?
Look, I don’t have any news that that has happened. I don’t have any news. Some yes, yes, no, I don’t know. I don’t know, directly. The two questions are terrible. Would I like this to happen… I like to meet with all people. I consider that all people are children of God and the law. And secondly, a relationship with another person always enriches. Even though it was terrible, that’s my reply. I would like to meet with everyone. If you want me to speak more about the dissidents, you can ask me something more concrete. For the nunciature, first, it was very real clear that I was not going to give audiences because not just the dissidents asked for audiences, but also audiences (were requested) from other sectors, including from chief of state. And, no, I am on a visit to a nation and just that. I know that I hadn’t planned any audience with the dissidents or the others. And,secondly from the nunciature, some people made some calls to some people who are in these groups of dissidents, where the responsibility was given to the nuncio was to call them and tell them that I would great them with pleasure there outside the cathedral for the meeting with the consecrated (religious). I would greet them when I was there, no? That did exist. Now, as no one identified themselves in their greetings I don’t know if they were there. I said hello to the sick who were in wheelchairs. … Oops, I’m speaking Spanish.
I greeted those who were in wheelchairs but no one identified themselves as dissidents but from the nunciature calls were made by some for a quick greeting.
(Follow up from journalist, on what he would tell them if he met with them)
Oh, my daughter, I don’t know what I would say. (laughs) I would wish everyone well, but what one says comes in that momento and …
Silvia Poggioli, NPR
I would like to ask you, in the decades of the power of the State of Fidel Castro, the Church in Cuba has suffered much. In your meeting with Fidel, did you get the impression that may be a bit regretful?
Regret is a very intimate thing and it’s a thing of conscience. I, in the meeting with Fidel, I spoke of the stories of known Jesuits because in the meeting I brought a gift of a book, from Fr. Llorente, also a good friend of his, who is also a Jesuit. And also a CD with the conferences of Fr. Llorente and I also gave him two books from Fr. Pronzato?, which I’m sure he’ll also appreciate. And we talked about these things. We spoke a lot about the encyclical, Laudato Si. He’s very interested in the issue of ecology. It was a not so formal, but spontaneous meeting. Also, the family was present there. Also those who accompanied me, my driver, were present there. But, we were a bit separated from his wife. They couldn’t hear but they were in the same place. But, on the encyclical we spoke a lot because he is very concerned about this. About the past, we didn’t speak.
(inaudible question from Poggioli)
Yes! About the past, the Jesuit college. And how the Jesuits were and how they made him work. All of that, yes.
Gian Guido Vecchi< Corriere della Sera (Italian daily)
Holiness, your reflections and warnings on the inequality of the world’s economic system, risks of auto-destruction for the planet are also inconvenient (for some) as they touch strong interest (groups) arms trafficking etc. On the eve of your trip, some considerations emerged, even quite bizarre ones. Even some important international media have picked them up of sectors of American society also that were even asking if the Pope was Catholic, after the past discussions on whether the Pope is a communist. Now even if the Pope is a Catholic. What do think of this?
Pope Francis (Italian):
A cardinal friend told me that a lady went to him, very worried, very Catholic, a little rigid but good, good, Catholic.
She asked if it was true that there was an antichrist and anti-pope In the Bible it talked of an anti-Christ , even the in the Apocalypse.– why do you ask this? The cardinal asked. Because I am sure that Pope Francis is anti-pope. Why do you think this? Because he doesn’t red shoes as is traditional. What are the Reasons ? I am certain that I didn’t say one thing more than wasn’t in the doctrine of the church. On the other trip, a colleague of yours said when I went to speak to the popular movements, that…that you held your hand out to these popular movements, (more or less like this was the question) but will the church follow you?
And I said: I am the one following the church. In this I think I am not mistaken, I think that I didn’t say anything which was not in the doctrine of the Church, in the social doctrine of the Church. Things can be explained. Maybe an explanation gave an impression of being a little bit more left-leaning, but it would be a mistake of explaining. No, my doctrine on all this, on the ‘’Laudato Sii’’ (encyclical) on the economic imperialism, and all this, is the Church’s social doctrine.
During your last trip, to Latin America, you strongly criticized the liberal capitalist system. It seems that in Cuba that your criticism of the communist system was not very severe, that they were much softer. Why this difference?
The speeches I gave in Cuba always contained references to the social doctrine of the church. I spoke clearly of those those things that need to be corrected. I didn’t soft-pedal. But about the first part of your question. More than what I have written – strongly written – in the encyclical, also in Evangeli Gaudiium, on imperialism, on savage liberal capitalism….I did not say….It is all written there. I don’t remember having said anything more than that. If you remember something please remind me. I said that which I wrote, which is enough, no? It’s enough. And then – and I said almost the same thing to your colleague – all this is in the doctrine. But here in Cuba – this perhaps will answer your question a bit – this has been a very pastoral trip with the Catholic community, with Christians, and also with people of good will. This is the reason that my speeches were homilies…or also with youth, they were believers and non-believers, and the believers were of various faiths, it was a speech of hope and encouragement, of dialogue between them. To walk together, to seek that which unites us and not separates us, to build bridges, no? This is a pastoral language. But in the encyclical I have to deal with more technical things. But if you recall something strong that I said on the other trip, please tell me because I don’t remember.
The Church in Cuba made a list of (prisoners) for the indult; more than three thousand were given the indult, the President of the Bishops Conference told me. There were more than 3000 and other cases are being studied. The Church here in Cuba is committed to this work of the indults. And, for example, someone said to me, “It would be really good if there could be an end to life imprisonment. Speaking clearly, life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty, it is like being there dying every day, without the hope of liberation. But that is just one hypothesis, another hypothesis that they grant a general indult of one or two years, but the Church is working and has worked. I do not say that all those three thousand that were released were taken from the lists of the Church. No. The Church made lists, I don’t know how many, and it continues to do so.