The exercise has become a must: on flights back from a trips abroad, Pope Francis gives a press conference to journalists on the plane. During these meetings that he loves, he has not been stingy with small revelations or sentences that remained famous for various reasons.
Resignation From the Pontificate
Despite the Pope's denials, but also perhaps because of them, three journalists returned to the question of the possible papal resignation. The answers remained in the same vein as his previous interviews on the subject.
“I don't know. I don't think I can move at the same pace of travel as before. I think that at my age and with this limitation, I have to cut back a little bit to be able to serve the Church or, on the contrary, think about the possibility of stepping aside. This is nothing strange. This is not a catastrophe. You can change the pope. You can change, no problem.”
The Paris Match journalist was particularly insistent: Francis confessed that he could withdraw. Under the pressure of questions he added, “When the Lord speaks, if the Lord says go ahead, go ahead. If the Lord says go to the corner, you go to the corner.…The Lord can tell me to resign. It is the Lord who commands.”
To a new evocation he further specified: “On the topic of my resignation, I would like to thank a nice article that one of you wrote on all the signs that could lead to a resignation and all the signs that are appearing.”
“And that is a nice journalistic work by a journalist who then ultimately gives an opinion. But to see those signs as well, not just the statements, that subterranean language, and other signs as well. That is being able to read signals or at least make an effort to interpret that it may be this or it may be that. This is good work and I thank you very much.”
Finally, to a last question on the subject, he added: “The door is open. It’s one of the normal options, but up to today I haven’t knocked on that door…I haven’t felt like thinking about that possibility. But maybe that doesn't mean the day after tomorrow I will start thinking. But right now I honestly haven’t.”
“It’s true that this trip was a bit of a test; you can't take trips in this condition. You have to maybe change your style a bit, lessen… rearrange. But the Lord will say. The door is open, that’s true.”
When asked about the possibility of reassessing the total ban on contraception, the Pope began by saying: “This is very timely.” But, in the continuation of the answer, he makes a long detour on the development of the dogma, quoting St. Vincent de Lérins, in giving a clear answer.
But this became a new opportunity to attack traditionalists: “And this is the problem of so many who call themselves traditional today. They are not traditional, they are “indietrists,” they are going backwards without roots…. Indietrism [looking backwards] is sin…. And instead, someone described tradition – I think I said it in one of the speeches – as the living faith of the dead and instead of these ‘indietrists,’ who call themselves ‘traditionalists,’ it is the dead faith of the living.”
“Tradition is the root of inspiration to go forward in the Church, and always these roots, and ‘idietrism,’ looking backward, is always closed. It is important to understand well the role of tradition, which is always open like the roots of the tree. The tree grows like that, no.” – In other words, if one does not change, one is not in the true tradition of the Church…
The Synodal Path and the Note From the Press Office of the Holy See
A journalist asked the Pope: “A few days ago there was a statement from the Holy See on the German ‘Synodal Way’ without a signature. Do you think this way of communication contributes to dialogue, or is it an obstacle to dialogue.” The response provides details:
“First of all, that statement was made by the Secretariat of State. It was a mistake not to sign it below.… It was a mistake not to sign it as a communiqué of the Secretariat of State. But it is a mistake of the office, not of ill will.” – Duly noted.
Francis continues: “On the ‘Synodal Way,’ I wrote a letter, I did so by myself…a month of prayer, reflection, consultations…and I said everything I had to say about the ‘Synodal Way.’ More than that I will not say. That is the papal magisterium on the ‘Synodal Way,” that letter I wrote three years ago.”
“I bypassed the Curia, because I did not do consultations (at the Curia), or anything… I did my own way, even as pastor for a Church that is looking for a way, as a brother, as a father, as a believer. And this is my message. I know it's not easy, but it's all in that letter.”
If this is the answer to the Synodal Path, and the only one, then the case is definitely lost. Because, alongside criticisms and clarifications, nothing in this Pontifical Letter is going to slow down the development of this cancer which is developing quietly across the Rhine, and which has begun to metastasize through the Synod on Synodality.
There is an urgent need to operate and excise this cancer which will soon be widespread.
The full text of this press conference is available at the following address: