"We have to be a leavening of life and love"
I'm betting this part won't play well in certain circles:
My friends think it is you want to convert me.
He smiles again and replies: "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. Sometimes after a meeting I
want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover
new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the
circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer
together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead
towards the Good."
Your Holiness, is there is a single vision of the Good? And who decides what it is?
"Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good."
Holiness you wrote that in your letter to me. The conscience is
autonomous, you said, and everyone must obey his conscience. I think
that's one of the most courageous steps taken by a Pope.
I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must
choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That
would be enough to make the world a better place."
Frankly, it doesn't play particularly well with me, being only a partial, pre-Christian response. But then, it's not an encyclical, it's an interview -- or really, a conversation with a post-Christian.
Is the Church doing that? "Yes,
that is the purpose of our mission: to identify the material and
immaterial needs of the people and try to meet them as we can. Do you
know what agape is?"
Yes, I know. "It is love
of others, as our Lord preached. It is not proselytizing, it is love.
Love for one's neighbor, that leavening that serves the common good."
The love I have to give people is Jesus Christ, the hope I have to give people is Jesus Christ.
Moreover, the only way I have to give people Jesus Christ (if I may put it that way) is love and hope. Proselytizing puts a name on a list, not Christ in a heart.
So I think I will let Pope Francis deal with Eugenio Scalfari, and I will keep trying, in my own poor way, to deal with the people God has put in my own life.