Pope Francis has given another must-read interview, this one with the Italian newspaper La Stampa. A couple of comments particularly struck me. One: “reform always begins with spiritual and pastoral initiatives before structural changes.” Another: “We must try to facilitate people’s faith, rather than control it.” Nothing shows the Ignatian heart of Francis’s ministry more clearly than this relentless focus on spiritual conversion.
Asked “What does Christmas say to people today?” he replied:
It speaks of tenderness and hope. When God meets us he tells us two things. The first thing he says is: have hope. God always opens doors, he never closes them. He is the father who opens doors for us. The second thing he says is: don’t be afraid of tenderness. When Christians forget about hope and tenderness they become a cold Church, that loses its sense of direction and is held back by ideologies and worldly attitudes, whereas God’s simplicity tells you: go forward, I am a Father who caresses you.