It’s almost routine: On a flight back from a trip abroad, Pope Francis holds a press conference for journalists on board. He is not stingy with small expressions or hints – he likes to play with the public.
Despite the pope’s previous denials, but perhaps because of this, three journalists again raised the question of papacy.
Pope’s resignation is possible
The responses pointed in the same direction as the previous statements:
I don’t know… I don’t think I can follow the same travel speed as before. At my age and in this range I feel that I need to step back a bit to serve or be of service to the church […] Consider the possibility of withdrawal. Honestly: it’s not a disaster, we can fill the papal chair, it’s not a problem.
The journalist of the Paris Match magazine was particularly adamant: François once admitted that he might retire. Then Francis said:
When the Lord speaks, when the Lord says go forward, you go forward, when the Lord says go to the corner, you go to the corner. (…) The Lord may say to withdraw. The Lord commands.
Regarding other rumours, he clarified:
Regarding my resignation, I would like to thank one of you for a beautiful article. […] A journalist who ends up expressing his opinion, but in the meantime sees not only words but all signs in implicit language. Knowing how to explain signs or at least trying to explain them is a beautiful piece of work and I thank you very much for that.
Finally, to a final question on this topic, the Pope added:
The door is open, that’s a normal option, but until today I didn’t knock on that door, I didn’t say I was going into that room, I didn’t want to think about that possibility. But that doesn’t mean I won’t start thinking about it the day after tomorrow, right? […] But now, honestly, no. This trip was also a bit of a test… It’s true that you can’t do trips at this stage, you have to change your look a bit, tone it down, reorganize it… but the Lord will say. The door is open, that’s right.
New reports on contraception?
One question referred to the possibility of re-evaluating the total ban on contraception, and the Pope began his answer by saying, “It is very right.” However, with the rest of the answer he made a long digression about the evolution of the doctrine. Quoting Saint Vincent de Lérins to give a clear answer.
Assault on tradition
But it opened up a new opportunity for him to attack traditionalists:
Many today call themselves traditional. No, they’re not traditionalists, they’re retrograde ‘March supporters’. It is a sin. One said tradition is the living faith of the dead and these ‘backward marching folk’ who call themselves traditionalists are the dead faith of the living. […] Tradition is precisely the root, the impetus for progress in the Church, which has always been vertical. And the ‘march-backstep’ is a back step which is always closed. Always open like the roots of a tree, it is important to understand the role of tradition in which a tree grows. In other words, if one does not change, one is not in the true tradition of the Church.
passed over the Curia
A journalist asks the Pope if releasing an unsigned note about the German synodal route is a good way of pontifical communication. The reply reveals: “First, this report was written by the State Secretariat. It’s wrong to go unsaid. (…) It was a mistake not to sign as the Secretariat of State, but a practical error, not bad faith.” And Francis continues: “I wrote a letter on the Synodal path, I did it alone: a month of prayer, thought, consultations. And I have said all that I have to say about the Episcopal Way, and I will not, and this letter I wrote two years ago belongs to the Pontifical Magisterium of the Episcopal Way. […] I avoided the Curia because I had no consultation (with the Curia). I have taken my own journey as a pastor, a brother, a father and a believer to a church that is finding a way. Here is my message. I know it’s not easy, but this letter has everything.
If this is the only answer to the synodal route, the case is surely lost. Because nothing in this papal letter, apart from criticisms and clarifications, has slowed down the growth of this cancer that was quietly growing on the other side of the Rhine, and which began to spread through the Synod on Synodality. The urgent need to surgically remove this soon-to-be-ubiquitous cancer is clear.
The full text of the Reise press conference is below Available at this address >
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