Father Georg Sporschill, a fellow Jesuit who interviewed him for Night Conversations in Jerusalem, and Federica Radice met Cardinal Martini on August 8: “A sort of spiritual testament. Cardinal Martini read and approved the text.
“How do you see the situation of the Church?
“The Church is tired in Europe and America. Our culture has aged, our Churches are large, our religious houses are empty and the bureaucracy of the Church climbs higher, our rituals and our clothes are pompous. Do these things express what we are today? (…) The burden of care. We stand there like the rich young man who went away sad when Jesus called him to make him his disciple. I know that we can not leave it all with ease. But at least we can try to be people who are free and closer to our neighbours. As were Bishop Romero and the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador. Where are our heroes to inspire us? For no reason, should we restrict them within the constraints of the institution”.
Who can help the Church today?
“Father Karl Rahner willingly used the image of the embers hidden under ashes. I see in the Church today is so much ash over the coals that often a sense of helplessness comes over me.
Can you remove the ash from the fire so as to revive the flame of love? For first we have to look for this fire. Where are the individuals full of generosity like the Good Samaritan? Who has faith like the Roman centurion? Who are enthusiastic as John the Baptist? Who dare to be new as Paul? Who are as faithful as Mary Magdalene?
I advice the Pope and to the bishops to seek twelve people who work outside the box to point the way.
Men that are close to the poor and are surrounded by young and that experience things in a new way . We need the comparison with men who are passionate so that the spirit can spread everywhere. ”
What tools are recommended to fight against fatigue of the Church?
“I recommend three very strongly.
The first is the conversion.
The Church must recognize her mistakes and must follow a path of radical change, starting with the Pope and the bishops. The scandals of paedophilia impel us to embark on a journey of conversion. The questions on sexuality and all issues involving the body are one example. These are important for everyone and sometimes maybe they are too important. We must ask ourselves if people still listen to the advice of the Church on sexual matters. Is the Church still an authority in this field of reference or only a caricature in the media?
The second is the Word of God
The Second Vatican Council returned the Bible to Catholics. (…) Only those who feels in their heart that Word may be part of those who help the renewal of Church and will answer personal questions with a correct choice. The Word of God is simple and looks like a heart that listens companion (…). Neither the clergy nor the Church law can replace the interiority of man. All the external rules, laws, dogmas are data given to clarify the inner voice and the discernment of spirits?
What are the sacraments for?
These are the third instrument of healing.
The sacraments are not a tool for discipline, but an aid to men in the moments of their journey and weaknesses of life. We bring the sacraments to the people that need a new power? I think of all the divorced and remarried couples who create families. These need a special protection. The Church supports the indissolubility of marriage. It is a grace when a marriage and a family succeed (…).
The attitude we take toward extended families will determine the approach to the Church of the next generation of children. A woman was abandoned by her husband and finds a new partner that takes care of her and her three children. The second love succeeds. If this family is discriminated against, not only the mother is cut off but also his children. If parents feel outside the Church or do not feel the support, the Church will lose the next generation. Before Communion we pray: “Lord I am not worthy …” We know we are not worthy (…). Love is grace. Love is a gift. The question of whether the divorced can go to Communion should be reversed. How can the Church get to help with the power of the sacraments those who have complex family situations? ”
What do you do personally?
The Church has been left behind for 200 years. Why does she not shake? What are we afraid of? Fear instead of courage? However, the faith is the foundation of the Church. The faith, confidence, courage. I am old and sick, and I depend on the help of others. The good people around me make me feel the love. This love is stronger than the feeling of distrust that I sometimes perceive in to the Church in Europe. Only love conquers fatigue. God is Love. I still have a question for you: what you can do for the Church?