More from Pope Francis’ inflight news conference

UPDATE: Watch the pope’s discussion on how to stop militant aggression against religious minorities in Iraq in this CNS video:

VATICAN CITY — For those who want even more than what our story yesterday contained, here are a few additional outtakes from Pope Francis’ inflight news conference yesterday:

— On China and being the first pope to receive permission to fly through Chinese airspace:

He said that on the flight to South Korea Aug. 13, “when we were about to enter Chinese airspace, I was in the cockpit with the pilots and one of them showed me the flight log and said, ‘In 10 minutes we will enter Chinese airspace; we must ask authorization. … We always ask, it’s normal to ask every country.’ And I heard how they request authorization, and the response. I witnessed that. And the pilot said, ‘Now we’ll send the telegram,’ but I don’t know how they did that.”

Pope Francis answers questions Aug. 18 during the flight from Seoul, South Korea, back to Rome. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis answers questions Aug. 18 during the flight from Seoul, South Korea, back to Rome. (CNS/Paul Haring)

— On his planned trip to Albania Sept. 21:

“Why am I going to Albania? For two reasons. First, because they have been able to form a government — think about the Balkans — they have a government of national unity made up of Muslims, Orthodox (and) Catholics with an interreligious council that helps a lot and is balanced. This is going well, it’s harmonious. The presence of the pope will say to the people, ‘See, you can work together!’ and I thought it would be a real help for that noble people. And another thing: If you think about the history of Albania, religiously it was the only communist country that enshrined atheism in its constitution. If you went to Mass, it was unconstitutional. And one of the ministries told me that — I want to be precise with the figures — 1,820 churches, Orthodox and Catholic, were destroyed in that period. And other churches were (transformed) into cinemas, theaters, dance halls. I felt like I should go. It’s close, the trip can be done in a day.”

— On his relationship with retired Pope Benedict XVI:

“Before leaving I went to visit him. And two weeks earlier he had sent me an interesting text and asked my opinion about it.”

The pope said he and his retired predecessor have “a normal relationship,” similar to the relationship between a diocesan bishop and the diocese’s retired bishop. “I think that having a pope emeritus will not be an exception” forever. Pope Benedict’s decision to retire because of his age and his perception that the church needed a more energetic pope “was a beautiful gesture of nobility and also humility and courage.” By retiring, “he opened an institutional door. Our relationship really is one of brothers, but I also have said that it is like having a grandfather in the house because of his wisdom.”

— On current wars, tensions and torture:

“Someone said to me, ‘But you know, Father, we are in the Third World War,’” one that is being fought in many little pieces. “It is a world at war where these cruelties are committed. I want to dwell on two words: first, cruelty. Today children don’t count. It used to be that people spoke of a conventional war, (but) today that doesn’t count. I’m not saying that conventional wars are a good thing — no. But today bombs are dropped and the innocent are slaughtered along with the guilty — children, women, their moms, everyone is slaughtered. We must stop and think about the level of cruelty at which we have arrived. This should frighten us!”

“And the other word, which is related, and which I want to say something about is torture. Today torture is, I would say, almost an ordinary behavior of intelligence services and judicial processes…. And torture is a sin against humanity, a crime against humanity. I would say to Catholics: To torture someone is a mortal sin, it is a serious sin. But it’s more than that, it is a sin against humanity.”

Pope Francis listens to a journalist's question on the flight back to Rome. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis listens to a journalist’s question on the flight back to Rome. (CNS/Paul Haring)

— On whether he feels like a prisoner in the Vatican:

“No, no, no. At the beginning, yes, but now some walls have fallen.” He said at the beginning of his pontificate he would hear or at least perceive sentences beginning “The popes cannot…” followed by something that would be normal for most people. “Here’s an example to make you laugh: I’d go to get the elevator and immediately someone would come because the pope could not go down in the elevator alone.” He said he made it clear, “’Go back to your place; I’m going down alone.’ And that was the end of it.”

— On whether, given the fighting in Israel and the Gaza Strip, he sees as a failure his June 8 prayer for peace at the Vatican with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

“That prayer for peace absolutely was not a failure,” he said. “These two men are men of peace, men who believe in God and have seen many ugly things, so many ugly things that they are convinced the only path for resolving the situation there is through negotiation, dialogue and peace.”

The prayer was an important step forward, he said. “Right now the smoke of the bombs, of the wars, make it impossible to see the door, but the door has remained open since that moment. And because I believe in God, I believe that the Lord watches that door and those who pray and all those who ask for his help.”

— On what he was going to do as soon as he got back to Rome:

“From the airport I will go to Mary (the Basilica of St. Mary Major): it’s something beautiful. Dr. Giani (the chief of security) ordered flowers in Korea with the Korean colors, but leaving the nunciature a little girl came with a bouquet of flowers — roses — and we said, ‘We’ll take these flowers to Mary as a gift from a Korean girl.’ And that’s what we’ll do. From the airport, we will go pray a bit, and then go home.”

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4 Responses to More from Pope Francis’ inflight news conference

  1. CSSF says:

    Reblogged this on Felician Sisters CSSF and commented:
    VATICAN CITY — For those who want even more than what our story yesterday contained, here are a few additional outtakes from Pope Francis’ inflight news conference yesterday:

  2. Ella says:

    “a little girl… told us, ‘Take these flowers to Mary as a gift from a Korean girl.”

    Um no, the little girl did NOT tell that; it was the Pope himself who promised her he would bring her flowers to Mary.

    Also, could someone please tell America (the magazine that published the pope’s interview in English) that he did NOT say, “One of the neurosis is that I am too attached to LIFE.”

    He said he is too attached to his HABITAT, not life, to say he’s a homebody.

    I mean, come ON. This pope is anything but attached to life. Has everyone already forgotten his “at my age, there isn’t much to lose” comment?

  3. Cindy Wooden says:

    Ella, thank you. And I’m sorry. You are correct. I’ve fixed the translation in the last paragraph.

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