Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pope Francis speaks candidly to schoolchildren

Pontiff answers questions on Jesuits, faith, and papal apartment
Pope Francis, seen during his first audience with the media March 16, provided frank responses to students June 7.
(Alistair Burns / The B.C. Catholic)
Pope Francis put down his script and engaged in a spontaneous question-and-answer period with students in the Paul VI Hall June 7. According to Vatican Radio:

Nine thousand students from Jesuit elementary and high schools in Italy and Albania listened to the 76-year-old pontiff.

“I prepared a text, but it’s five pages! A little boring,” he acknowledged.

He summarized his speech and took questions instead.

When asked if it was difficult to leave his family and friends and become a priest, the Pope said yes. “It is not easy but there are beautiful moments and Jesus helps you and gives you a little joy.”
When asked why he wanted to join the Jesuits, he said he wanted to be a missionary and he was attracted by the religious order’s missionary zeal and activity.
When asked why he decided to renounce the usual papal apartment in the apostolic palace, he said it was a question of personality, not of luxury.
“I have a need to live among people.” he stated.
"If I were to live alone, perhaps a little isolated, it would not be good for me. … It is my personality. … It is not an issue of personal virtue, it is only that I cannot live alone.”
He added that the poverty in the world today is a scandal. “All of us today must think about how we can become a little poorer,” he said, so as to resemble Jesus.
When a student doubting his faith asked for words of encouragement, the Pope likened the faith to a long walk. 
“To walk is an art,” he said, “To walk is the art of looking at the horizon, thinking about where I want to go but also enduring the fatigue. And many times, the walk is difficult, it is not easy… There is darkness… even days of failure… one falls… But always think this: do not be afraid of failure.
Read the full article and listen to the Vatican Radio report here.

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