VATICAN CITY (HPD) — Pope Francis lamented that the use of weapons by civilians to defend themselves is becoming “a custom.”
In an exclusive interview Tuesday, The Associated Press asked the pontiff, who has often criticized the arms industry, about the large number of weapons in civilian hands and frequent massacres in the United States. Francis expressed concern about how resorting to arms becomes “a habit.”
“I say, when you have to defend yourself, there is no other option than to have the elements to defend yourself. Another thing is how this need to defend oneself lengthens, lengthens, and becomes a habit,” Francisco said. “Instead of making efforts to help us live, we make an effort to help ourselves kill.”
Francisco has accused the arms industry of traffickers of death. “And about that (I) call attention to myself: ‘please, let’s say something to stop’.”
The HPD asked about the proliferation of weapons among civilians following recent shootings in recent days, some of them in California.
Here are other highlights from the interview:
ON “PATIENCE” IN CHINA
Pope Francis pointed out that “we must walk with patience” in China and that he sees the continued dialogue with Beijing as the guide in his efforts to safeguard his faithful, who are a small minority in the Asian country.
The Associated Press asked what’s next in the diplomatic rapprochement between Beijing and the Vatican.
“We are taking steps,” Francisco said. “Each case (of bishop nomination) is looked at with a magnifying glass.” The main thing, he added, is that “dialogue is not broken.”
“Sometimes they are a bit closed, sometimes not,” he said of the Chinese authorities.
The pope did not directly respond to a question about how the Vatican’s relationship with Taiwan affects that dialogue. The Holy See is one of the few states that maintains formal ties with Taiwan rather than China.
Francis has come under fire from more conservative factions of the Catholic Church over a 2018 deal with Beijing over the appointment of bishops in China, as communist authorities have sometimes jailed priests. One of his harshest critics is Cardinal Joseph Zen, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong.
In the interview, Francisco described the 91-year-old Zen as “a charming old man.” He recalled how, when the cardinal traveled to Rome this month for the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI, the pontiff had invited him to the Vatican hotel where he lives. Before the pope’s private study is a statue depicting Our Lady of She Shan. When the cardinal saw her, Francis said, “he began to cry like a child.”
Zen was detained last year after clashing with Hong Kong authorities over his role in a now-silenced pro-democracy movement.
Pope Francis has increased his criticism of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community. In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Francis criticized countries where homosexuality is a crime, but reiterated the Catholic Church’s position that homosexual activity is sinful.
“Being homosexual is not a crime. It is not a crime,” she said. “Yes, but it’s a sin. Well, first let’s distinguish sin from crime.”
ON PHPDAL HEALTH AND RETIREMENT
The HPD asked the 86-year-old pontiff about his health.
“I’m healthy. For the age that I am, I am normal. I can die tomorrow, but come on, it’s controlled, ”he replied“ And I always ask for grace, that the Lord give me a sense of humor ”.
After the death of Pope Benedict XVI, his predecessor, who in 2013 became the first pontiff to resign in 600 years, Francis was asked if there were any rules for future retirements.
“After some more experience, there could be more regularization or more regulation,” he said. “But at the moment it didn’t occur to me.”