Caring for the poor and the environment are key to pontiff’s reforms, Vatican prefect says.
Pattaya: Catholics can take part in Pope Francis’ reforms by living an authentic life, paying special attention to the poor, caring for the environment and by learning from other religions, a Vatican official said.
“The pope is asking us today for a witness of credibility,” Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, told ucanews.com during an Asia-wide symposium on consecrated life and new evangelization held in Pattaya, Thailand, July 20-25.
“We are not saying that we are not sinners because the pope reminds us that whoever thinks that he is not a sinner is not a man or woman,” said Cardinal de Aviz. “God loves the sinner but God doesn’t love the one that is full of corruption,” Cardinal de Aviz said.
“This need for authenticity is very important for places here in Asia where there is co-existence of various religious experiences. And whatever is beautiful, good and true in any religion belongs also to us Christians, but this doesn’t allow us to not witness to Jesus Christ,” he said.
“I think it is also important to have an attitude of openness to all the cultural values of the local people. In a special way, an openness to all the sufferings of poverty, persecutions, instability, migration and so on,” he said.
“And if this existence together can lead us to a common culture for peace and justice then it is a very good thing,” he added.
The cardinal is considered a close confidant of the pope and shares in a common preferential option for the poor. Both are former archbishops of South American capitals — the pope in Buenos Aires and the cardinal in Brasilia. “The pope is a simple person, a transparent person,” Cardinal de Aviz said.
Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has set about reforming the Catholic Church and its bureaucracy, which has won him global praise for his fresh and open style. Cardinal de Aviz calls this “a special moment in the Church.”
Speaking about Pope Francis’ new encyclical on the environment, Laudato si’, which was addressed to every person on the planet, the cardinal pointed to the importance of the letter. “We as Christians have a very positive vision and understanding of creation,” he said.
“The relationship we build with nature must be a relation based on love and respect because it is a good that belongs to all and so it is part of our faith,” he said, adding that “the pope has given us a strong input with this encyclical” and that “whoever is against the survival of creation is against the survival of humankind even if they can justify themselves with complicated things.”
The pope in his encyclical blamed human greed for the planet’s critical environmental emergency.