On La Croix’s (newspaper) interview with Pope Francis

Last month, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, who is also a Catholic, came to Taipei for two interesting talks. In one of them Taylor laid out two models of secularism that in his naming are « the American model » and the « the French model. » Gauging each model by how faithfully they correspond to the democratic spirit of modern pluralistic society respectively, Taylor favors the formal and holds his critique of the latter.


In this interview La Croix conducted (my summary of it in Chinese here), you can clearly see how Pope Francis echoes Taylor’s call in his rejection of the French model of laïcité, namely, the political understanding of the government as the embodiment of the « counter-church, » whose role is to keep all pubic religious exercises at bay so as to minister to a « religionless » public square.

So as the French model prevails there, Pope Francis is also daring enough to call the French [Catholics] « the eldest daughter of the Church, but not the most faithful, » whose republic nowadays has downgraded itself to a « mission country, » rendering the land « a periphery to be evangelized. »




But he is convinced that there isn’t necessarily « a need for priests in order to evangelize. » Baptism, and the Holy Spirit whom the believers received upon baptism, should provide the motif to evangelize, which means « to go out, to take the Christian message with courage and patience. »

« The Holy Spirit is the protagonist of whatever happens in the Church, its motor. Too many Christians are ignorant of this (in their false reliance on and espousal of ‘clericalism’). »

Just the other day I was working on the German weekly Die Zeit’s cover story on Christian ecumenism in which ample external evidences are offered to suggest that Francis is a very Protestant-friendly Pope.

That pales in comparison to his internal convictions stated here though. You can see how « Protestant reformed » this Pope is.


[文摘] 教宗方濟願為火星人施洗的理由

If then God gave them the same gift He gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?

When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let’s do it this way’… and Peter in that first diocese – the first diocese was Antioch – makes this decision: ‘Who am I to admit impediments?’

A nice word for bishops, for priests and for Christians. Who are we to close doors? In the early Church, even today, there is the ministry of the ostiary [usher]. And what did the ostiary do? He opened the door, received the people, allowed them to pass. But it was never the ministry of the closed door, never.


既 Pope Francis 上週以彼得被上帝挑戰的救恩論想像為例,表態「願為火星人施洗」後,幾天前他說明「沒有教會就不成基督徒」。


One cannot « understand a Christian alone » any more than « Jesus Christ alone » can be understood.

Jesus Christ did not fall from the sky like a superhero who comes to save us. No. Jesus Christ has a history. And we can say, and it is true, that God has a history because He wanted to walk with us. And you cannot understand Jesus Christ without His history. So a Christian without history, without a Christian nation, a Christian without the Church is incomprehensible. It is a thing of the laboratory, an artificial thing, a thing that cannot give life.



Our Christian identity is belonging to a people: the Church . Without this, we are not Christians. We entered the Church through baptism: there we are Christians.


And for this reason, we should be asking for the grace of memory, the memory of the journey that the people of God has made; also of personal memory: What God did for me, in my life, how has he made me walk … Ask for the grace of hope; ask for the grace to renew the covenant with the Lord who has called us every day.
May the Lord give us these three graces, which are necessary for the Christian identity.