On 13 March, precisely on Monday next week, Pope Francis will mark a full decade as Head of Catholic church.
He was elected as 266th pope on March 13, 2013 succeeding Pope Benedict XVI, who stepped down.
In his interview with Elisabetta Piqué, a journalist for the Argentine daily La Nación that he dreams of a more pastoral, more open Church.
“Everything that concerns the pastoral line of forgiveness and understanding people. Giving everyone a place in the Church,” the Pope said.
“Open doors, that’s what I really want. To open doors and walk paths.”
And the Church he envisions for the coming years is a Church that is “more pastoral, more just, more open” along the lines traced out by the Second Vatican Council.
“We must travel this path. Now, the concreteness of this is difficult.”
Pope Francis is concerned especially for the “lost sheep” and that this attitude has troubled some Catholics, as happened with the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son: “It always happens,” said the Pope.
“A keyword of Jesus is ‘all.’ For me, this is the key to pastoral openness. Everybody inside the house. There’s a bit of commotion, but everyone inside the house.”
Of course, he emphasized, there is resistance and opposition to change. Jesus, too, “faced a lot of opposition.”
But it is necessary to act in the “freedom of the Holy Spirit” and to seek God’s will. Pope Francis spoke of the formation of future priests and indicated the need for a review of seminaries.
On the question regarding reforms, Pope Francis noted that “the dicasteries have been reorganized and the College of Cardinals itself is now freer.”
On the economic front, he paid tribute to Cardinal Pell, who helped him set the economic reform in motion.
“I am very grateful to him,” the Pope said. Now, he added, “the Secretariat for the Economy is helping me a lot in this regard.
Explaining about whether he has been asked to write a document on the subject of gender, the Pope replied in the negative.
On this topic, he reiterated that he “always makes a distinction between pastoral work with people of different sexual orientation” on the one hand, “and gender ideology.
They are two different things,” he said. “Gender ideology, at this time, is one of the most dangerous ideological colonisations. It goes beyond the sexual sphere.
Why is it dangerous? Because it dilutes differences, and the richness of men and women and of all humanity is the tension of differences. It is growing through the tension of differences.
The gender question dilutes differences and makes the world equal, all level, all the same. And this goes against the human vocation.
Responding to a question about errors made during these ten years of his pontificate, the Pope pointed to the cause of each error: impatience.
“Sometimes the blood rises to my head. Then you lose patience, and when you lose peace, you slip and make mistakes. You have to know how to wait.”