"Transcript: Pope Francis' March 31 interview with Belgian youth" (Patheos, April 7, 2014): Pope Francis recently gave an interview at the Vatican to some students from Flanders, Belgium. The entire give-and-take, as can be seen from the transcript, is remarkably superficial. Some of the questions, however, provided beautiful opportunities for teaching moments, begging for honest and substantial answers, yet were met with a succession of superficial answers and missed opportunities. What can I say? I'm deeply saddened by this.
The only mention of Jesus is as a model of (1) concern for the poor, (2) counsel against a psychology of fear, and (3) counsel against triumphalism. Asked whether he is happy, and why, the Pope responds: "I’m happy because … I don’t know why … maybe because I have a job, I am not unemployed, I have work, a job as a shepherd!"
A professed atheist asks an open-ended question: "Perhaps you have a message for all of us, for the young Christians, for people who don't believe or have other beliefs or believe in a different way?" The reply is essentially to be "authentic"! He says: "For me, one must seek, in a way of speaking, authenticity. And for me, authenticity is this: I am speaking with my brothers. We are all brothers. Believers, non-believers, or those of one religious confession or another, Jews, Muslims... we are all brothers. Man is at the center of history, and this for me is very important: man is at the center. In this moment of history, man has been thrown out of the center, he has slipped out toward the periphery, and at the center -- at least at this point -- is power, money. And we must work for people ..." (emphasis added) Barack Obama could have said that. Should one not feel sad about that?
[Hat tip to Dr. Echeverria]