Highlights from the Pope's recent interview
This March 13, on the second anniversary of the Pope’s election, the Vatican published an interview granted by Pope Francis to Valentina Alazraki, Televisa’s Vatican correspondent.
The Pope responded at length to questions on various topics: drug trafficking, migration, a possible visit to Mexico in 2016, the recent disappearance of a group of Mexican students, the misunderstanding of the phrase "Mexicanization" of Argentina, his devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, his intuition that his pontificate will only last a few years, and the reform of the Curia, among other things.
The interview was recorded by the Vatican Television Center and Vatican Radio, which published its complete transcript.
Here are the highlights:
1. Pope Francis responded to the reactions unleashed by the private email he sent to a friend, where he said that the bishops should try to avoid the "Mexicanization" of Argentina.
He said,"Clearly, this is a ‘technical’ term, if I may use that expression. It has nothing to do with Mexico’s dignity. When we use the term ‘Balkanization,’ neither the Serbs, nor the Macedonians, nor the Croats get angry. And we say that something is ‘Balkanized’ and it is used technically, and the mass media have used it many times, haven’t they?"
He recognized that his comment stirred up the dust and said that, according to statistics that he had consulted, 90% of Mexicans were not offended by the expression. "Which makes me happy. It would have been very painful for me if it had been interpreted that way. The government itself, after having asked, accepted my explanations. These, which are the real ones. And everything is in peace. In other words, that misunderstanding didn’t close the doors of Mexico to me. I will go to Mexico."
2. The devil hasn’t forgiven Mexico for the Virgin Mary’s apparition
"This is not the first difficult moment that Mexico has passed through. In other words, it is connected with holiness, don’t you think? That is, Mexico went through times of religious persecution, which led to martyrs. I think that the devil punishes Mexico with a lot of problems.Because of this: I think the devil has not forgiven Mexico, for Mary having shown her Son there. That’s my interpretation. In other words, Mexico is privileged by martyrdom, because it has recognized and defended its Mother.
"And you know this well yourself. You will find some Mexicans who are Catholics, some who are not Catholics, some who are atheists, but they are all ‘Guadalupanos,’ [devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe – translator’s note]. That is to say, they all feel that they are her children. Sons and daughters of the one who brought the Savior who destroyed the devil. That is to say, the holiness connection is there too. I believe that the devil is making Mexico pay, don’t you? And that is the reason for all these things. You can see that throughout history there have always appeared hot spots of grave conflict, right?"
3. Promise to make a proper visit to Mexico
Alazraki asked him why he is not going to Mexico this year, despite visiting Philadelphia in the USA. The Pope responded that he thought of doing it by entering the USA crossing the Mexican border. "But, if I went to Ciudad Juárez, for example, and entered from there, it would have caused a bit of an uproar: ‘How is it possible that he goes there and doesn’t come to see Our Lady, our Mother!’ Besides, I can’t visit Mexico piece by piece; I’d need a whole week to do it.
4. Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe
The conversation took place in Saint Martha Hall, in chairs right in front of a large image of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In this way, the Pope showed his great devotion to the "mestiza" Virgin. "She is the Mother who brings the Gospel to us in Mexico. […] She is an expectant Mother. It shows that she is bearing a child. But, in what way does she show it? How does she reveal herself, beyond the fact that she is pregnant? She appears as a mestiza. That is a prophecy of our American mixture of ethnicities."
5. Mary and the mixture of ethnicities
He repeatedly emphasized the cultural and religious experience of the mixture of ethnicities through the apparition. "That is why she goes beyond the limits of Mexico, she goes far beyond it and is the unity of the American people. She is the Mother. America isn’t an orphan; it has a Mother, a Mother who brings us Jesus."
"That is to say, our Salvation, which is Christ, comes through a woman, and she wanted to show through her appearing with mixed ethnicity that she brought Christ especially to Mexico. And she chooses to reveal herself through a son of that culture. She doesn’t choose a Spanish man, or a colonist, or a beautiful woman; no, no. A simple, married, humble man. And so for me she is a Mother. She is a mother of mixed ethnicity and, I dare to say, something more. She is the beginning of something we don’t talk about much in America: she is the initiator of holiness. In other words, in the colonization of America, in the conquest of America, there was a lot of sin."
The complete interview was published by Vatican Radio.
Translated from Aleteia’s Spanish edition by Matthew Green.