Friday, September 20, 2013

Sister Teresa Forcades: News, a book, and a support petition to sign

Several new items pertaining to Benedictine nun and feminist theologian Teresa Forcades are worth mentioning.

The BBC Interview

For those who have been longing for more information in English on this nun who is currently leading a movement for the independence of her native Catalonia via a constitutional process, the BBC has recently produced an article about Sister Teresa Forcades and she has been featured on a radio program, "Heart and Soul."

The article by Matt Wells of BBC World Service, which appeared in BBC News Magazine on September 13, helpfully outlines Sr. Teresa's, and her partner in the Proces Constituent, economist Arcadi Oliveres' ten point political program.

As for the "Heart and Soul" radio broadcast featuring Sr. Teresa Forcades, you can listen to this 29-minute program here.

Sense por. Conversa entre Teresa Forcades i Esther Vivas

Not to be outdone by her fellow journalist Eulalia Tort who, last year, produced a book of interviews in Catalan with Teresa Forcades titled Converses amb Teresa Forcades (DAU, 2012), subsequently published in Spanish as Diálogos con Teresa Forcades, progressive journalist Esther Vivas has come out with a new book of her own conversations with Sister Teresa. The book, also in Catalan, is titled Sense por. Conversa entre Teresa Forcades i Esther Vivas (Icaria, 2013). This second book focuses more on Sister Teresa's political convictions and less on her theology and positions with respect to issues in the Catholic Church.

Icaria has issued the following promotional video about the new book:



Dueling petitions

It started with Spain's right-wing Catholic media and bloggers who have promoted a petition on Change.org directed at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, calling for the suspension of Sr. Teresa because of her theological and political positions. Among the inflammatory, and in our view libelous (many are simply and completely false), assertions on that petition: that Sr. Teresa "publicly favors the murder of children through abortion", "favors homosexual unions", "denies the definitive doctrine defined by Blessed John Paul II on the impossibility of women in the priesthood, painfully casting doubt on an infallible definition by the Holy Father on that subject", "devotes herself to political activities incompatible with her status as a contempative religious", "refuses to publicly retract doctrinal errors although asked to do so by the Holy See", "has disobeyed the Very Eminent and Very Reverend Lord Cardinal of Lima, Peru [yes, that's what the petition says] who prohibited her from giving a speech in the Archdiocese of Lima." Again, it bears repeating that most of these allegations are completely false. At last count, that petition, which was mounted by an anonymous group calling itself Defensa de la Fe y el Papa and has been going since mid-August, had garnered 3,621 signatures.

More recently, and to counter that petition, a coalition of progressive Spanish Catholic groups have mounted a competing petition in support of Sr. Teresa. The text of this petition is in Spanish but we have provided an English translation below so that if you want to click on the link in this paragraph and support Sr. Teresa, you'll know what you're signing. The pro-Sr. Teresa petition, which only began last week, already has 1,789 signatures.

TO: Diocese of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archdiocese of Lima, Peru [due to problems with Archbishop Cipriani], Vatican Embassy in Madrid, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

SUBJECT: In defense of Sister Teresa Forcades, OSB

We signatories of this petition want to show our support for Sister Teresa Forcades, OSB in face of the unfair accusations that are being thrown at her.

In Teresa we have found someone who transmits the Gospel in an attractive and liberating way. She speaks in a warm manner to those who are listening to her. She explains her positions precisely and shows extensive training while at the same time making it accessible to people. And in all this, she demonstrates the posture of a believer and a member of the Church who, from that membership, reflects and and asks questions.

Teresa raises reasonable questions and doubts. She doesn't claim to be a source of doctrine. What she does do is reflect, point out problems in that doctrine, and propose the need for changes. All this while leaning on the strength of reasoning and on the base of her solid training which includes two doctoral degrees (public health and theology) and a masters in theology from Harvard.

Among the accusations that have been made against Teresa is that she denies the essential elements of Christian faith and that she denies the Magisterium. Both accusations cannot be supported. At no time has Teresa questioned the basic doctrines. And, on the other hand, she has never claimed to replace the Magisterium. What she has done is reflect and propose, which is a different matter.

Particularly, what we do find in Teresa is that she supports the need for a feminist critique that frees the Gospel from patriarchal bonds. Also, she raises the complexity of the problem of abortion and seeks to approach the problem in a calm and rational way, close to the difficult human situations. In this matter, really, she doesn't say anything different from what can be found in other Catholic moralists or Catholic bioethical centers. In no way can it be truthfully said that she is "pro abortion". Only a twisted reductionist interpretation of her words could give rise to that accusation.

With respect to LGTBI (Lesbian, Gay, Transsexual, Bisexual and Intersexual) people, she reflects on the current social doctrine and its shortcomings, with her eye always on real people who are worthy to receive the Gospel. With that, she points out what other Catholic authors have already pointed out in numerous publications. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church has always claimed to be able to be acknowledged as truth because of right reason in all that it is capable of knowing. And therefore it is the duty of the faithful to help it improve its reasoning and correct its shortcomings, precisely in order that it might better respond to the need to express the truth.

She is also reproached for her commitment to citizenship. In this, many of us have also found in Teresa someone who has been able to go beyond simple protesting and invite us to be responsible for our destiny as citizens, always in a peaceful manner and inviting dialogue.

Among those of us who are supporting Teresa are Catholics, Christians of other denominations, believers in other religions, atheists, as well as agnostics. This is also a sign of the power of her words and the drawing power that would be desirable in any member of the Church. With it, Sister Teresa does nothing except make real the Church's approach to the world while maintaining its identity, which is the heart of initiatives like the Court of the Gentiles.

Because of all of this, we would like to show our public recognition to Teresa Forcades and our gratitude. And with it, we would also like to protest the accusations against her that can only be the result of an intentional or unintentional misunderstanding of her words.

In addition to many individuals, the following groups are supporting this campaign:

ACGIL, Área de Asuntos Religiosos de la FELGTB,Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, Grupo de Asuntos Religiosos de Cogam, CRISMHOM, FELGTB, ICM Pan de Vida - Madrid, ICM España, Fundación Enllaç, Mujeres Cristianas Homosexuales Nueva Magdala, Mujeres y Teología, Redes Cristianas.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Clelia Luro v. Gustavo Gutierrez

Much has been made of Clelia Luro de Podesta's open letter to Gustavo Gutierrez at the time of his visit to the Vatican this month. The letter, originally published as an editorial piece in Tiempo Argentino (9/12/2013) and picked up by a variety of left-wing Catholic media and bloggers, caused quite a stir. Because Luro de Podesta says in her letter that during one of her regular phone conversations with her old friend Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, she reminded the pope of the incident between Gutierrez and her husband and the pope remembered it, the right-wing Catholic media and bloggers have also used it to "prove" that there is no rapprochement between the famous liberation theologian and the pontiff. So you can form your own opinions about the controversy, we bring you the infamous letter in English, followed by a reflection from Eduardo de la Serna, a priest and member of Grupo de Curas en Opción por los Pobres de Argentina, who well remembers the event in question and puts Luro de Podesta's feelings in perspective.


An open letter to Gustavo Gutiérrez by Clelia Luro de Podestá

Dear Gustavo: I am Clelia Luro, the companion of Jerónimo Podestá. Remember? You had traveled to Cordoba to give a talk to the Priests for the Third World. They had invited Jerónimo for the first time through (Fortunato) Marimachi. Jerónimo left very contentedly for Cordoba. It was the first time the Priests for the Third World had invited him. The next day, Jerónimo reappeared back home. I asked him what happened and, answering, without hiding his pain, he said, "They threw me out. Gustavo didn't want to begin if Jerónimo was in the room."

I thought, "Liberation theology, what liberation does it uphold? Clerical liberation of false values? And I felt sorry for you. I also knew that you had behaved the same way with Leonardo Boff, the best theologian the Church has today.

[Pope] Francis called me on Saturday and I reminded him of that episode and he answered that he remembered because I had already told him about it when he was still our Cardinal Bergoglio.

Gustavo, if liberation theology leads us to be judges of our brothers and sisters, we will have to make a liberation from that theology. What will happen when the Church reforms this law which is just a law made by men and sees a way to support priestly couples and optional celibacy? Will you change your opinion then?

Leonardo Boff did not give up his struggle or leave the Church. He was thrown out in an unfair decision by the Institution. For the Church as People of God, like in Vatican II, he wasn't condemned, nor was Jeronimo who always felt himself to be a bishop of the Church and like Paul chose the Gentiles. All those who suffered the persecution of clericalism, he compensated those punished by a law that did not respect the primacy of, and respect for, conscience as sanctioned by Vatican II.

God willing, today with Francis who is rescuing the Church as People of God, the punishments will end. They belong to the past and the clerical spirit that is disappearing to come to be One, that the world might believe!

Reflections on Clelia Luro's open letter to Gustavo Gutierrez by Eduardo de la Serna

Today, the newspaper Tiempo Argentino (September 12, 2013) has published an "open letter by Clelia Luro de (sic) Podestá to Gustavo Gutiérrez". And a few things occur to me:

To start with, few things are more right and healthy than defending someone one loves (or has loved), and the letter seems to be written with that purpose. But this event, which took place in the early 70s doesn't seem to merit an "open letter" more than 40 years after the event occurred. I met Jeronimo at a few meetings, but not as an active bishop since he had been cast out of the ministry before I was ordained, but from all my priest friends who knew him, I have only heard compliments and praise. However, it's well known that married priests had been specifically asked not to participate in the national meetings of MSTM [Movimiento de Sacerdotes para el Tercer Mundo -- Priests for the Third World Movement], something that was told in writing to the regional groups by then MSTM secretary Miguel Ramondetti. I imagine that Gustavo, invited by MSTM, would have been consistent with the criteria of those who had invited him. I don't know how Gustavo behaved with Leronardo Boff, but I was at a theological meeting in Brazil in 2000 and Leonardo was there with Marcia and so was Gustavo. [Note: I observed the same thing at the most recent theological gathering in Brazil in 2012. There did not seem to be any problems between the two though Gutierrez was only present via Skype due to an orthopedic injury. -- RG]. The statement that Leonardo Boff is the best theologian of the Church seems to me to be highly debatable. Many of us, for example, think that Gustavo is a vastly more serious and deeper theologian than Leonardo, without failing to acknowledge the latter's contributions.

I'm not yet able to state that Francis is changing the Church. I deeply wish it were so, but it's still too early even to insinuate it (and he himself has said so). If, as has been said, mandatory celibacy is rethought, that would not be a substantial change, surely (though many of us wish it and would celebrate it). And if mandatory celibacy were abolished tomorrow, it would be starting tomorrow that those who -- like Jeronimo -- chose to form a couple, would be within the "church discipline." I'm not saying "within the Church", of course. I'm in no way insinuating it. I'm simply saying that within the norms the Church sets for itself -- many of which ought to change (celibacy being one of them, although I don't think it's the fundamental one), they are what's there today.

Jeronimo's presence at the MSTM meeting was the straw that broke the camel's back for the breakdown of the Movement. All of us who go on in this spirit know the pain that breakdown brought, the distances and conflicts. This in no way casts a shadow on Jeronimo, and no one is saying that he was responsible for it, since it was already brewing, but the necessary debate about celibacy that is due in the Church will not be resolved by old divisions in the light of seemingly new times, but by contributing as much as possible so that the Church will be a credible sign of God in the midst of the world, a space of "freedom, justice and peace, so that all may find in her a reason to go on hoping."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Not just an economic crisis

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
September 22, 2013

Luke 16:1-13

"You cannot serve God and mammon." These words of Jesus can't be forgotten at this time by those of us who are his followers since they contain the most serious warning Jesus left to humankind. Mammon ["Money"], converted into an absolute idol, is the great enemy to building that more just and fraternal world desired by God.

Unfortunately, Wealth has become in our globalized world an immensely powerful idol that, to survive, is demanding more and more victims and further dehumanizing and empoverishing human history. In these times, we find ourselves trapped by a crisis generated in large part by the desire to accumulate.

Virtually everything is organized, moves, and is energized by that logic -- seeking more productivity, more consumption, more well-being, more energy, more power over others...That logic is imperialistic. If we don't stop it, it could put human beings and the planet itself in danger.

Perhaps the first thing is becoming aware of what is happening. This is not just an economic crisis. It's a social and humanitarian crisis. These days, we already have enough data around us and in the world vista to perceive the human drama in which we're immersed.

It's increasingly obvious that a system that leads a rich minority to accumulate more and more power, abandoning millions of human beings to hunger and destitution, is an unbearable folly. It's useless to look elsewhere.

Not even the most progressive societies are able to guarantee a decent job to millions of citizens now. What progress is this that, while we're all throwing ourselves towards being well-off, leaves so many families without the resources to live with dignity?

The crisis is ruining the democratic system. Pressured by the demands of Money, the rulers can't attend to the real needs of their people. What is politics if it's no longer serving the common good?

The reduction in social expenditures in various fields and the self-interested and indecent privatization of public services such as health care will go on striking at the most helpless, causing more and more exclusion, shameful inequality, and social breakdown.

We followers of Jesus can't live enclosed in a religion that is isolated from this human drama. These days, Christian communities could be a space of consciousness raising, discernment and commitment. We are to help one another live with clarity and responsibly. The crisis could make us more humane and more Christian.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Message of the 33rd Congreso de Teologia

Below is an English translation of the final message of the 33rd Theology Congress of the Asociación de Teólogos y Teólogas Juan XXIII.

From September 5 to 8, we celebrated in Madrid the 33rd Theology Congress on "Liberation Theology, TODAY", which brought together a thousand people coming from different countries and continents in a climate of reflection, brotherly and sisterly co-existence, and interfaith, intercultural, and inter-ethnic dialogue.


We live in a gravely ill, unjust and cruel world, in which wealth is more and more concentrated in fewer hands and inequality and poverty are growing. Forty to fifty thousand people die each day from hunger and wars, when enough resources exist to feed twice the world's population.The problem is not, therefore, scarcity, but the competitiveness, excessive accumulation, and unjust distribution generated by the neoliberal model. The rulers allow the financial powers to rule and democracy hasn't reached the economy. The current European crisis has the effect of dismantling democracy.


The economic crisis has become a human rights crisis. The euphemistically named "cutbacks" in education and health care are, in fact, systematic violations of the individual, social and political rights for which we had worked so hard over the preceding centuries.


But this situation is not fatal or natural, nor does it respond to divine will. The inertia can be broken by changing our way of living, producing, consuming, governing, legislating and doing justice, seeking alternative models of development along the lines proposed and practiced by quite a few organizations in the world today.


Over these days, we have heard the diverse testimonies and voices of the various theologies of liberation that are being cultivated on every continent and trying to work together in responding to the most serious problems of humanity described above: in Latin America, in tune with the new political and religious scene, and with the experiences of 21st century socialism; in Asia, in dialogue with eastern worldviews, finding the liberating dimension in them; in Africa, in communication with the native religions and cultures, in search of sources of life in nature; in Europe, in dialogue and collaboration with the social movements.


We have found that liberation theology is alive and active in the face of attempts by conservative thought and traditional theology to condemn it and give it up for dead. LT [Liberation theology] is historical, contextual and reformulated in the new liberation processes through emerging subjects of transformation: women who have been discriminated against who are becoming aware of their revolutionary potential, once destroyed cultures that are reclaiming their identities, peasant communities that are mobilizing against Free Trade Agreements, angry young men who have been denied the present and to whom the doors of the future have been closed, ravaged nature which is crying out, suffering, rebelling and demanding respect, abused migrants fighting for better living conditions, indigenous religions and those of African descent which are being reborn after centuries of silencing.


LT is a theology of life, which particularly intensely defends the most threatened life -- that of the poor, who die prematurely. It makes the words of Jesus of Nazareth a reality: "I came that you might have life and have it abundantly." It calls us to discover God in the excluded and crucified of the earth: that is the fundamental mission of the Christian churches, from which they have been very distant.


Religious reformers have opened and continue to open paths of compassion and integral liberation, that should be translated politically, socially and economically in each historical period, in particular Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha and Jesus of Nazareth the Christ (theme of the last address of the congress).

We denounce the lack of ethics in government policies that present cutbacks as reforms necessary for economic recovery. Our denunciation is extended to banks, multinationals and financial powers as the ones truly responsible for the current crisis in collusion with governments that allow it.

We opt for another economic model whose criteria are the principle of the common good, the defense of the land, social justice and community sharing.


We denounce the use of violence, militarism, the arms race and war as irrational and destructive forms of resolution for local and international conflicts that are sometimes justified religiously. We opt for a world in peace, without arms, where conflicts are resolved by means of dialogue and political negotiation. We support all peaceful initiatives that go in that direction, such as the day of fasting and prayer proposed by Pope Francis. We reject the just war theology and pledge to develop a theology of peace.

We denounce racism and xenophobia, which manifests itself especially in discriminatory laws, in the denial of the rights of immigrants, in the humiliating treatment to which they are subjected by the authorities and lack of respect for their lifestyle , culture, language and customs. We opt for a borderless world guided by solidarity, hospitality, recognition of human rights without discrimination, and world citizenship as opposed to restrictive citizenship linked to membership of a nation.

We denounce the denial of sexual and reproductive rights and the systematic violence against women -- physical, symbolic, religious, workforce -- exerted by the alliance of the various powers -- labor laws, advertising, media, governments, businesses, etc.. The alliance promotes and reinforces patriarchy as a system of gender oppression. Religious institutions have quite a lot of responsibility for the discrimination and mistreatment of women. Feminist liberation theology seeks to respond to this situation by recognizing women as political, moral, religious and theological actors.


We ask for the immediate suspension of sanctions and rehabilitation of all theologians who have been victims of reprisals (of those who have seen their works prohibited, condemned or subjected to censorship, of those who have been expelled from their professorships, of those from whom recognition as "Catholic theologians" has been withdrawn, those who have been suspended a divinis, etc..), especially during the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who were especially repressive on issues of dogmatic and moral theology, in most cases because of their links with liberation theology and even for following the guidelines of Vatican II. Such rehabilitation is a requirement of justice, a necessary condition of the much hoped for reform of the Church and proof of the authenticity of the same.



We demand, in turn, within the churches, the exercise of the right and freedom of thought, assembly, expression, professorship and publication, frequently not respected, and the recognition of the option for the poor as a fundamental theological criterion.

With Pedro Casaldáliga we affirm that everything is relative, including theology, and that only God, hunger, and liberation are absolute.

Madrid, September 8, 2013


Colombian Roman Catholic Women Priests and Supporters Meet

This is a slightly edited version of the account that appears in English by Rev. Judy Lee on her blog and in Spanish on the Evangelizadoras de los Apóstoles blog. Photos from the gathering are taken from those posted by Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez on that blog and some additional ones can be found here. Photo at right is of Rev. Judy Lee and Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez at a women's ordination ceremony in the United States earlier this year.

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) group in Colombia consists of two ordained priests, three candidates, and several applicants and supporters. On September 14 and 15, 2013 the group met in Envigado, Antioqua, under the guidance of Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea who was ordained a priest in December 2010 in Sarasota, Florida. Rev. Aida Soto Bernal, the other priest ordained in Colombia in March of 2011, was not able to attend this meeting.


The group will meet on a regular basis to reflect on their service to the people of God and their growth and commitments as women priests, aspirants and supporters. Rev. Dr. Judy Lee of Ft. Myers, Florida, who is a co-guide of the candidates with Rev. Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea, was able to greet the group on Saturday night via Skype. She also sent responses to questions and comments sent by those assembled. Rev. Judith Beaumont greeted them as well. An RCWP candidate in Spain also communicated with the group.


Candidate Marina Teresa Sanchez from Cali was the scribe for the event, keeping good records of what was said and planned. A leader in her faith community in Cali shared the mission of the community of faith and how happy they were to support Marina Teresa. Candidate Judith Bautista Fajardo from Bogota began the meeting with liturgical dance from the Native American (Navajo) culture. She also shared a poem titled "Confession" about finding her calling. A religious sister and missionary who was a supporter was present and shared her ministry and prayed with the group. Each one present reflected on her own journey of love and service.


Those assembled discussed issues such as responsibilities of women priests, apostolic succession, and "evangelical succession" from Mary of Magdala, Apostle to the Apostles. They considered the roles of priest as spiritual leader and guide along with all of the priesthood of the baptized. The role of priest as co-liberator with Christ was highlighted, especially for women and all those who are poor and living at the margins.


The time together ended with a beautiful and simple Eucharistic liturgy led by Rev. Olga Lucia and celebrated communally by all present.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Gutierrez: "Francis reminds me of Pope John XXIII"

Last week, Pope Francis met with Peruvian liberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez in a private audience. The meeting was viewed by many as a welcome sign that liberation theology will now be well-received by the Catholic Church which had previously persecuted its advocates.

Prior to the meeting, Gutierrez, who was also in town for the presentation of the new Italian edition of the book he co-authored with the current head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Müller (
Dalla parte dei poveri. Teologia della liberazione, teologia della Chiesa -- ed. San Paolo-Emi). was interviewed by Angelo Sarto of La Stampa's Vatican Insider on September 7th. We will now bring you this interview in English (translation by Rebel Girl):

"Talking about the importance of the poor, solidarity with the poor, ... that comes from the Gospel. Liberation theology just recalled all that, it didn't create it -- it's there in the Gospel! And the Pope is very gospel-centered." This was stated by one of the founders of liberation theology, Father Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Dominican, who is expected tomorrow at the Mantua Literature Festival with his "old friend", Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, now Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Father Gutiérrez, the warm reception shown by L'Osservatore Romano to your book Dalla parte dei poveri (Edizioni Messaggero – Editrice Missionaria Italiana), written jointly with Mgr. Müller, marks a turning point in relations between the Vatican and liberation theology. What do you think?

That book was published in German and Spanish nine years ago. I'm very pleased with this positive reception. It shows that liberation theology is a contribution among other theologies. Monsignor Müller talks about this very clearly. I'm very glad for this approval from my old friend Müller."

What's the relationship, as far as you know, between Bergoglio and liberation theology? Some say he's condemned it in the past ...

To my knowledge he has never condemned it, that's what some of my friends who are very close to him have told me. Look, I'm not so interested in liberation theology but in the Gospel. Liberation theology is a theology, designed to recall something important in the Gospel -- the presence of the poor in the world, the Church's preferential option for the poor. Has there been contact between Bergoglio and liberation theology? Perhaps -- why not? I prefer to view things that way and not place the Pope in a theology but only in the Gospel."

Some observers claim Bergoglio is carrying out some of the proposals of liberation theology in terms of his commitment as pastor...

I think maybe he's carrying out the Gospel, not exactly a theology, but at most a theology close to liberation theology. Talking about the importance of the poor, commitment, solidarity with the poor...that comes from the Gospel. Liberation theology just recalled all that, it didn't create it -- it's there in the Gospel! And the Pope is very gospel-centered, his way of acting shows it.

Leonardo Boff has argued that Pope Francis will in the future give the sign to rehabilitate liberation theology, which has often been criticized by the Vatican. Do you think this will happen?

(Laughs). Making predictions is always difficult. But it seems that this could happen, although I can't say how because I can't answer as to what the Pope will do. But this time is so rich, interesting and evangelically new! I hope this climate continues. Not so much for liberation theology, but to get to the root of the gospel. I don't know Bergoglio directly, but only through friends who are very close to him. I heard of him a long time ago as a Jesuit in Argentina, as a bishop, archbishop and cardinal in Buenos Aires. I've been very pleased during the recent months after his election as Pope. He has helped the faith a lot with a very gospel style in church life.

Which urgent need should Francis face most in the Church today?

It isn't easy to say. When you see the church as the Pope does, there's a different view. But what he's done up to now is talk about the gospel on the periphery. It's a very interesting metaphor. That's the Church's mission: proclaiming the kingdom of God to all, with a special emphasis on the world's periphery. That's what I find so gospel-centered in Francis! The two things he has begun to do -- namely the reform of the curia and the economic reform of the IOR -- are the right ones. But above all, what's important is a renewed presence of faith in today's world. He has an analysis of reality that seems very interesting. He's very original and creative in his gestures. I can't say he ought to do this or that! It's not my job. But I'm very pleased to see this presence and "fresh" air in the church that Francis has brought.

Many people are coming back to the Church thanks to Francis. Why?

He's touched a note that hadn't been touched in a while -- evangelization and the proclamation of the kingdom is for everyone. This means going towards the important points, such as justice. Francis is emphasizing this new thing a lot, with truly extraordinary charisma. He reminds me of Pope John XXIII."