On March 31 at the Vatican, Pope Francis gave an interview to a group of young people from Flanders, Belgium, who were accompanied by Bishop Luc Van Looy, bishop of Ghent. Among the topics discussed were happiness, the pope’s love of the poor, and how to witness to those who do not believe in God. The group included a group of four who had attended World Youth Day in Rio, as well as a young woman who is an atheist.
Catholic News Agency recently released a transcript of the interview. Below are a few of the young peoples’ questions and the Holy Father’s answers:
You have shown your great love of the poor and the wounded in many ways. Why is this so important for you?
Because this is the heart of the Gospel. I am a believer. I believe in God. I believe in Jesus Christ and his Gospel. And, the core of the Gospel is the proclamation to the poor. When you read the Beatitudes, for example, or you read Matthew 25, you see there how Jesus is clear in this. The core of the Gospel is this. And Jesus says of himself, “I came to announce to the poor, freedom, health, the grace of God…” To the poor. Those who need salvation, that need to be welcomed in society. Then, if you read the Gospel, you see that Jesus had a certain preference for the marginalized. The lepers, the widows, orphaned children, the blind… marginalized people. And also the great sinners… and this is my consolation! Yes, because He is not even scared of sin! When he came across a person like Zaccheus, who was a thief, or like Matthew, who was a traitor to his heritage (patria) for money, He was not afraid! He looked at the them and he chose them. Also this is a poverty: the poverty of sin. For me, the heart of the Gospel is of the poor. (more…)