Fr Spadaro: The Pope wants a Church open to great challenges
By Benedetta Capelli
Pope Francis had a free and open exchange with members of the Society of Jesus on Sunday morning, continuing the tradition of meeting with his religious confreres during his Apostolic Journeys.
The content of those meetings is typically published in full in the Jesuit-run periodical La Civiltà Cattolica.
Following the dialogue in Malta on Sunday, the director of the journal, Father Antonio Spadaro, SJ, – who is in the papal retinue – spoke about the meeting with the Jesuits:
Q: What was the atmosphere of Pope Francis' meeting with the Jesuits this morning?
In all of his trips now, wherever possible, the Pope meets with the Jesuit community present in the place where he is travelling. As always, they are very, very beautiful meetings, very intimate and familiar. It was a relaxed atmosphere, of open conversation on many topics.
Perhaps the best thing is to see the Pope, halfway through the trip, offer his impressions [of the journey], to understand a little of the atmosphere of the welcome he has received, of the things the Pope wants to say.
Q: What was the content of this conversation?
The conversation is private, but we will publish it in Civiltà Cattolica, when the Pope wants it and if he wants it. T
he basic contents are those that concern the very life of the Society of Jesus, and therefore the meaning of evangelising today. The Pope repeated this joy of evangelisation, which he spoke about so much yesterday.
The perception that one has of the desire that the Pope has, is that of a Church that is open to great challenges. This island in some way contains within itself great challenges: it is a crossroads in the heart of the Mediterranean... therefore [there is] an impulse to evangelisation.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most important fruit that can come from this visit of the Pope?
The theme of migrants is one that the Pope touched on in his meeting with the Jesuits and is very close to his heart.
The profound meaning of this visit, a visit to the heart of the Mediterranean, a crossroads of connections, is found in a message that the Pope has given to the world, starting from a periphery that is central to cultural and spiritual exchanges; so it is a meeting that concerns Malta, but in reality concerns the entire world.
Q: At the Angelus, the Pope placed particular emphasis on the war in Ukraine, which Pope Francis described for the third time as "sacrilegious"…
Exactly. This is a theme that obviously runs through this trip – during the Mass we saw many Ukrainian flags – and he couldn't fail to do so.
Already in the meeting with the authorities, the Pope was very clear, pointing out the responsibilities regarding the preparation of the conditions for war, not today but in time, through rearmament, so the message was very, very strong.