Marking his first 500 days as Bishop of Rome Pope Francis gave an interview on Sunday. It has appeared in the Argentine magazine “Viva”, which is a supplement of the newspaper El Clarin. According to Zenit News Agency he reminisced about his youth, discussed immigration and shared a ten point plan for happiness.
“Campa e lascia campa…live and let live”, Pope Francis said, “That’s the first step to peace and happiness.”
The ten steps to happiness Pope Francis gave are the following:
- Live and let live
- Giving oneself to others: “If one gets tired, one runs the risk of being egoistic. Stagnant water is the first to be corrupted.”
- Move quietly…be a running river (quiet and peaceful) not a rocky stream
- Take time to play with children; have a healthy culture of leisure, enjoying art and reading
- Consider Sunday family time, try to make Sunday a day of rest
- Help young people find employment
- Care for the environment
- Forget the negative
- Respect those who think different than yourself
- Actively seek peace
During the interview Pope Francis stressed the need to care for the elderly. The elderly have the wisdom to move with ‘kindness and humility’ and have the calmness of life. He stated that people that don’t take care of its elderly have no future.
When talking about unemployment, Pope Francis stated that the rate of suicide is very high among young people without work.
Pope Francis said, “I read the other day, but I do not telegraph it as a scientific fact, that there were 75 million young people under the age of 25 unemployed,”. The Pope suggested the youth could be taught skilled work, which would allow them the “dignity of bringing home the bacon.”
Pope Francis also stressed the need to spend time with children. Even though parents work and come home to sleeping children, it is necessary to play with them.
Pope Francis also discussed the international situation. The Pope drew attention to the increasing number of conflicts and wars across the globe. “War destroys,” he said. “And we must cry out for peace. Peace sometimes gives the idea of quietness, but it is not quiet, it is always an active peace.”
“I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace, to do everything that they can, what I can do from here,” he said. “Peace is the language we must speak.”
The Holy Father also spoke about those fleeing the horrors of war and other calamities, and how many countries are not generous in helping refugees. He said Europe fears speaking about immigration, but he praised Sweden for its policies, noting that despite their small population, they have allowed in 800,000 immigrants out of a population of 25.3 million.
The Pope also spoke about environmental issues, and how mankind continues to waste the bounty given by God.
In the interview, the Pope also reiterated the Church grows by attraction, not proselytizing. “The worst thing you can do is religious proselytizing, which paralyzes,” he said.
Pope Francis has consistently tried to emphasize God as merciful and loving, rather than angry and judgmental. His actions have been to mingle with the people, showing his care and love for them. To be kind and merciful is how we are to show the world the ‘face of Jesus’. Pope Francis’ engaging style of teaching has kept the attention of the world.