This is a list of 14 selected quoted from Pope Francis’ recent exclusive interview with Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica. Dialogue between pope Francis and La Repubblica’s founder, Eugenio Scalfari: “Starting from the Second Vatican Council, open to modern culture”. The conversation in the Vatican after the Pope’s letter to La Repubblica. You can read the full interview here

1. “Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.”

2. “Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy.”

3. “It also happens to me that when I meet a clericalist, I suddenly become anti-clerical. Clericalism should not have anything to do with Christianity.”

4. “The Church is or should go back to being a community of God’s people, and priests, pastors and bishops who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God.”

5.”You cannot be a conscious Christian without St. Paul. He translated the teachings of Christ into a doctrinal structure that, even with the additions of a vast number of thinkers, theologians and pastors, has resisted and still exists after two thousand years.”

6. “Jesuits were and still are the leavening  –  not the only one but perhaps the most effective  –  of Catholicism: culture, teaching, missionary work, loyalty to the Pope.”

7. “A religion without mystics is a philosophy.”

8. When the conclave elected me Pope. Before I accepted I asked if I could spend a few minutes in the room next to the one with the balcony overlooking the square. My head was completely empty and I was seized by a great anxiety. To make it go way and relax I closed my eyes and made every thought disappear, even the thought of refusing to accept the position, as the liturgical procedure allows. I closed my eyes and I no longer had any anxiety or emotion. At a certain point I was filled with a great light. It lasted a moment, but to me it seemed very long. Then the light faded, I got up suddenly and walked into the room where the cardinals were waiting and the table on which was the act of acceptance. I signed it, the Cardinal Camerlengo countersigned it and then on the balcony there was the “Habemus Papam”.”

9. “Grace is not part of consciousness, it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason.”

10. “We always have been [a minority] but the issue today is not that. Personally I think that being a minority is actually a strength. We have to be a leavening of life and love and the leavening is infinitely smaller than the mass of fruits, flowers and trees that are born out of it.”

11. “Vatican II, inspired by Pope Paul VI and John, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to be open to modern culture. The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done in that direction. I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.”

12. “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being.”

13. “God is the light that illuminates the darkness, even if it does not dissolve it, and a spark of divine light is within each of us.”

14. “Personally I think so-called unrestrained liberalism only makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker and excludes the most excluded. We need great freedom, no discrimination, no demagoguery and a lot of love. We need rules of conduct and also, if necessary, direct intervention from the state to correct the more intolerable inequalities.”

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