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Pope Francis: ‘A faith without doubts cannot advance’

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera releases excerpts from Don Marco Pozza’s new book-length interview with Pope Francis, in which he explores how doubts and crises of faith lead us deeper into the mystery of God.

By Vatican News

"Of Vices and Virtues" (published by Rizzoli) is the title of Don Marco Pozza's new book-interview with Pope Francis, which is set to be released on 2 March.

Several portions of the book were published Sunday by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Anger and bullying

In one part of the interview, the Pope describes rage and the path toward healing from anger.

“[Anger] is a storm whose purpose is to destroy. One example is the bullying that occurs among young people. (...) Bullying arises when, instead of seeking to understand one's own identity, one belittles and attacks the identity of others. When episodes of aggression and bullying occur in youth groups, schools, and among neighbors, we see the poverty of the identity of the aggressor. The only way to 'heal' from bullying is to share, to live together, to dialogue, to listen others, and to take time apart, because only time can build a relationship.”

God’s cleansing wrath

Pope Francis goes on to consider God's wrath.

He recalls that Divine anger "is directed against evil, not that which comes from human weakness, but evil of satanic inspiration. (...) The wrath of God seeks to bring justice and to 'cleanse'. The Flood is the result of God's wrath, according to the Bible.”

The Pope explains that the flood, according to some experts, is "a mythical story.” But, according to archaeologists, it is instead "an historical event because traces have been found of a flood in their excavations." Pope Francis warns against not taking care of creation, saying we risk a new “flood.”

Prudence in governing

Turning to the subject of prudence, the Pope calls it "the virtue of government.”

“It is impossible to govern without prudence. On the contrary, whoever governs without prudence governs poorly. They do evil things, and make bad decisions, which always destroy people."

But prudence in government, he notes, “must sometimes be unbalanced, in order to make decisions that produce change.”

Faith and doubt

Finally, Pope Francis speaks of faith tested by doubts.

“The devil puts doubts in us, then life happens along with its tragedies: ‘Why does God allow this?’ But a faith without doubts cannot advance. (...) The thought of being abandoned by God is an experience of faith which many saints have experienced, along with many people today who feel abandoned by God, but do not lose faith. They take care to watch over the gift: ‘Right now I feel nothing, but I guard the gift of faith. The Christian who has never gone through these states of mind lacks something, because it means that they have settled for less. Crises of faith are not failures against faith. On the contrary, they reveal the need and desire to enter more fully into the depths of the mystery of God. A faith without these trials leads me to doubt that it is true faith.”

28 February 2021, 10:18