It is not easy to have projects at 86 years of age, but Francisco has them. The Pope, who has come from the end of the world, begins his second decade open to reviewing celibacy, aware that the Vatican is profoundly macho, on guard against gender ideology and with the desire to travel to Kiev, but also to Moscow. In the plans is also to visit Argentina, his native country, which he has not set foot on since in 2013 he was chosen as God's representative on Earth. But that will have to wait: Argentina is, for him, an always complex bet.
It was seen this weekend in the Basilica of Luján, the most important religious temple in Argentina. Francisco was the focus of a celebration for the ten years of his papacy. "At Mass we pray for the Pope, not for a Pope; we pray for the Pope we have: Pope Francis," Bishop Pedro María Laxague said when calling the meeting.
Francisco hoped that this mass would mark a pause in the cannibalistic Argentine politics, a world in which there is almost no dialogue between the government and the opposition, trapped by constant tension and catastrophizing. He invited all the political leaders, president, former presidents and heads of the different political parties. In that sense, it was a failure, only President Alberto Fernández attended. In another sense, it was a success: Father Pepe Di Paola, very close to Francisco in his preference for the poor, achieved a massive mobilization of the most marginalized and long-suffering layers of society.
"It is a pilgrimage of hope. 'Not a boy less because of drugs' is a testimonial pilgrimage. Look at what could be done with God's help, it is a constructive pilgrimage," Francisco said in a video message. "It is possible against the crime of drugs that destroys, an alternative can be opened. The Hogares de Cristo are not only a helping hand but also love, a home where one can rearm oneself and strengthen one's life in order to re-insert oneself in another way in the society".
Without stepping foot in Argentina, Francisco is always there. He has been in the last few days in the form of interviews in two of the most important media in the country, La Nación and Infobae, long conversations in which he discussed many topics with the simplicity and comfort of speaking "in Argentine".
He told Daniel Hadad, founder of Infobae, that religious celibacy can be reviewed: "Celibacy in the Western church is a temporary prescription: I don't know if it is resolved one way or another, but it is provisional in this sense; It is not eternal like priestly ordination, which is forever, whether you like it or not. Whether you leave it or not is another matter, but it is forever. On the other hand, celibacy is a discipline".
"So it could be reviewed," the interviewer asks. "Yes. Yes. In fact, all those of the Eastern Church are married. Or those who want to. There they make an option. Before ordination, the option to marry or to be celibate."
In the same interview, Francisco defines the Spanish Cardinal Julián Herranz as "a great guy", who, when addressing the conspiracies and criticisms of which the first Latin American Pope in history is the object, said the following: "I have worked for six Popes and they have all been criticized. Of the six pontiffs, perhaps the devil has preyed on two, with Paul VI and with Francis".
"Herranz has experience. Herranz is a doctor, later he entered Opus Dei, he was ordained a priest. He is 92 years old. The other day he wrote me a very nice letter. I am very close to Herranz, a very close friend. I did not know that he had said this to someone time. I can't judge if it's true or not. But sometimes there is resistance but the bad ones. Not the good ones".
In his dialogue with Elisabetta Piqué for La Nación, Francisco is blunt about "gender ideology": "It is one of the most dangerous ideological colonizations. It goes beyond the sexual. Why is it dangerous? Because it dilutes the differences, and the richness of men and women and of all humanity is the tension of differences".
The Vatican is "macho" and "machismo is bad," Francis told Hadad, though he did not move further on the issue of women being able to be on a par with men in the Church. "Sometimes celibacy can lead to machismo. A priest who does not know how to work with women is missing something, he is not mature."
Francisco does not watch television, does not use a mobile phone, does not read social networks and writes his many emails by hand so that a secretary can transfer them to the computer. The last time he took a vacation, he says, was in 1975.
In favor of "market capitalism" and against "depersonalizing communism", he describes the regime of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua as a "rude dictatorship", which he compares to "the communist dictatorship of 1917 or the Hitlerite dictatorship of 1935".
He wants to travel to kyiv, but only if he can also travel to Moscow, he assured La Nación. The war in Ukraine, he said, becomes important because it is in Europe: "I would like to mark one thing about the war. This war hurts us a lot because we have it next to us, but the world has always been at war. At least for a long time a century. We forgot about Yemen, for example. The boys from Yemen. We forgot about the Rohingya, Myanmar, all that war drama. We forgot about Goma, in northern Congo, and Rwanda. Of course, since this war is from next door, we already have it very close, it catches our attention. But we don't stop fighting."
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