Monday, September 30, 2013

"I Will Change the Church" – On Super 8 Eve, Interview #2

(SVILUPPO: The text of the Pope's interview with La Repubblica has been obtained; here's the first English report on it.) 

Six and a half months into the new Rule of Francis, among other patterns to emerge is that, when the Pope gets excited, he likes to "load the cannon."

One earlier example of this came on 5 July, when – within a matter of hours – Papa Bergoglio released his first encyclical (a work "of four hands" with his predecessor), announced the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II and made his first joint public appearance with B16. And now, on the day that he formally set next 27 April for the first sainting of two Popes at once, announced his oft-used theme of building a "culture of encounter" as the focus of the next World Communications Day – and with the all-important summit of what's now officially in business as the "Council of Cardinals" opening in the morning – an already full news-cycle will reportedly soon see an added dose of chaos: namely, another interview.

The Pope's second on-the-record conversation to emerge in 11 days, a notice late tonight on the website of Italy's largest daily, La Repubblica, announced the imminent publication of an interview with Francis conducted by the paper's co-founder, the atheist Eugenio Scalfari, long a significant figure of the Italian Left. It's not the first interaction between the two; a July letter Scalfari sent to Francis was replied to by the pontiff in an extensive op-ed for the paper earlier this month.

The news was likewise relayed in a midnight tweet from the daily's editor, Ezio Mauro.

While no text of the sit-down has appeared of yet, La Repubblica's headline of the article reads: "Thus I will change the Church" ["Così cambierò la Chiesa"], with a subhed quoting Francis that "'To open oneself to modernity is a duty.' The Pope's plans for reforming the Curia." 
However, as the "get" was prefaced by the words "in edicola" – "on newsstands" – it may be the case that the exchange's initial run is held exclusively for the paper's print edition.

Even if the inaugural meeting of the "Super 8" and the scheduling of the joint canonization have already drawn a renewed heavy spotlight on the Vatican this week – one bound to only increase with another papal interview – the events of these hours are merely Francis' prelude to what's set to be a very dramatic, intense moment: the Pope's daylong Friday visit to Assisi to mark the feast of the saint whose name he bears, his counselors duly in tow and with no less than six speeches planned.

As ever, more when it hits.