Pope Francis’ Undiplomatic Interview
On November 22, Pope Francis gave an interview to the Jesuit magazine, America, and replied to several important questions. On the polarizing issue of abortion, he was unchanged; abortion is the killing of a human being.
He repeated Benedict XVI’s comment on each bishop’s independence and his duty to his people. He cannot delegate this pastoral care to the bishops’ conference, nor can the conference override his independence. The conference’s purpose is to assist the bishop, and it is not his master nor the pastor of his people.
On the question of women’s ordination, he excited Mary McAleese’s indignation by reasserting that the ordained ministry is only open to men, pointing out the fact “that the woman does not enter into the ministerial life is not a deprivation. No!”, he said. That point is lost on Ireland’s once president.
On China, he emphasized that the Vatican is continuing to dialogue as long as it is possible, despite having his request for a meeting rebuffed by President Xi Jinping when he and Pope Francis were in Kazakhstan last September. Two days after the interview, the Chinese government appointed a bishop of an existing diocese to head a new diocese created by the Chinese Communist Party. So much for agreement and dialogue!