Pope Francis Can't Explain the Vocations Crisis -- Bergoglio is Obsessed with Condemning the Gospel
Pope Francis granted an interview to the magazine Mundo Negro of the Comboni Missionaries. Also present was Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso (right).
(Rome) The magazine Mundo Negro of the Comboni Missionaries, based in Madrid, published an interview with Pope Francis on 13th January. It is not the first he granted to this magazine. In it, Francis again denounces proselytism as a "grave sin". So much is widely known. It is more remarkable that Francis also says that he "cannot explain" the vocations crisis. He also regrets that the "liturgical ferments" that existed after the Second Vatican Council have disappeared.
The interview, which was conducted on December 15 but only now published, lasted 35 minutes. It was led by the editor of Mundo Negro, Fr. Jaume Calvera. Also present was Cardinal Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot. Francis had appointed Cardinal Ayuso titular bishop in 2016 and president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (now Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue) in 2019. In the same year he also created him cardinal.
According to Francis, the mission of the Church has changed "thank God" through the Second Vatican Council. He refers to "two interesting signs":
"The first careless ferments of the Council have already disappeared. I am thinking of the liturgical ferments, which are almost non-existent. And an anti-conciliar resistance is forming, a resistance to the Council, which did not exist before and which is typical of every process of maturation. But many things have changed... On the missionary side, respect for cultures, the inculturation of the Gospel, is one of the values born as an indirect consequence of the Council. Faith is inculturated and the Gospel takes on the culture of the people, there is an evangelization of culture. Inculturation of faith and evangelization of culture are these two movements, and when I speak of the evangelization of culture, I do not mean the reductionism of culture or the ideologization of cultures or all that is a serious temptation today, but I speak of evangelization, of proclamation and nothing else, with great respect. Therefore, the gravest sin a missionary can commit is proselytism. Catholicism is not proselytism."
InfoVaticana describes Francis' frequent criticism of "proselytism" as an "obsession" of the Pope, deliberately keeping the term vague, as well as "clericalism" or "rigidity," to name two other buzzwords of papal vocabulary. They are not precisely defined but are used for harsh accusations: "The gravest sin a missionary can commit is proselytism."
"I don't see any explanation"
When asked whether the West is a "mission territory" today, Francis is surprised, almost perplexed. A few sentences earlier, the Pope called the Second Vatican Council a great achievement that had changed so much. For almost 60 years, the official ecclesiastical line has been that the Council has brought a "new spring". However, nothing of this can be seen and felt. Faced with reality that contradicts this narrative, Francis declares that he has no explanation for it.
"Five countries—Belgium, Holland, Spain, Ireland and Quebec—have filled the world with missionaries. Today, there are no vocations in these five areas. It's a mystery. And that in less than 100 years. How can we explain this? I don't see any explanation for that."
The inexplicable does not seem to give Francis sleepless nights, because when asked immediately afterwards whether this development worries him, he said:
"No, it does not worry me, in the sense that we are melting away, this is a sign of the times that signals worldliness, that signals a level of development that sets values elsewhere. It signals a crisis. There are crises, and crises must be lived through and overcome."
Text/Translation: Giuseppe Nardi Image: InfoVaticana