Pope Francis lauded Pius XII for his efforts in saving Jews, discussed Orthodox-Catholic relations, as well as the motivations behind his prayer meeting at the Vatican last Sunday in an interview granted with Spanish-language magazine “La Vanguardia” this week.  Here are some excerpts:

Violence in the name of God dominates the Middle East.  ‚Ä®‚Ä®

It’s a contradiction. Violence in the name of God does not correspond with our time. It's something ancient. With historical perspective, one has to say that Christians, at times, have practiced it. When I think of the Thirty Years War, there was violence in the name of God. Today it is unimaginable, right? We arrive, sometimes, by way of religion to very serious, very grave contradictions. Fundamentalism, for example. The three religions, we have our fundamentalist groups, small in relation to all the rest.

Why is it important that the Church be poor and humble?

Poverty and humility are at the center of the Gospel and I say it in a theological sense, not in a sociological one. You can't understand the Gospel without poverty, but we have to distinguish it from pauperism. I think that Jesus wants us bishops not to be princes but servants.

Why did you choose to place yourself in the eye of the hurricane, the Middle East?

The true eye of the hurricane, due to the enthusiasm that there was, was the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro last year. I decided to go to the Holy Land because President Peres invited me. I knew that his mandate would finish this Spring, so I felt obliged, in some way, to go beforehand. His invitation accelerated the trip. I did not think of doing it.

Why is it important for every Christian to visit Jerusalem and the Holy Land?‚Ä®

Because of revelation. For us, it all started there. It is like “heaven on earth.” A foretaste of what awaits us hereafter, in the heavenly Jerusalem.