February 3, 2014

The cardinal who heads Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals said the Catholic Church is entering a “new era” and accused critics of the pope’s statements on economic injustice of failing to “understand reality.

I’m firmly convinced we are at the dawn of a new era in the Church, just as when Pope John XXIII opened its windows 50 years ago and made it let in fresh air,” said Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa in an interview with Germany’s Cologne-based Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger published Jan. 20.

“Francis wants to lead the Church in the same direction that he himself is moved by the Holy Spirit.

This means closer to the people, not enthroned above them, but alive in them,” said the cardinal.

In addition, Rodriguez Maradiaga said, the pope favoured “above all, a simpler life and leadership” from priests and bishops in line with the “sometimes forgotten message of Jesus.”

The pope, he said, believes they should go out to people, rather than “sitting in our administrative offices and waiting for people to come.”