LOPEZ: In On Heaven and Earth, Cardinal Bergoglio says: “Maybe [the Devil’s] greatest achievement in these times has been to make us believe that he does not exist and that all can be fixed on a purely human level.” Why is he so obsessed with the Devil?
BERMUDEZ: If his focus on the Devil is an obsession, well, I think we should all be obsessed. The reality of the existence of the Devil is so overwhelming, especially in the unexplainable evil of our day, that is easier for me to understand how a person can not believe in God than how one can not believe in the Devil. In any case, Pope Francis believes that taking the Devil out of the equation is more irrational than making long-term plans believing that nothing will ever go wrong. Any company would immediately fire a manager that naïve.
LOPEZ: Cardinal Bergoglio said to the Rabbi Skorka: “In the experience of God there is always an unanswered question, an opportunity to be submerged in faith. . . . God always is being sought and found. We are presented with this paradox: We seek Him to find Him and because we find Him, we seek Him. It is a very Augustinian game.” How can we better communicate this? Through the culture? In our lives?
BERMUDEZ: Cardinal Bergoglio believes that this paradox can only be transmitted by personal and collective witness. More Christians filled with the joy of being in this cycle of love will give the Church more credibility in the world. It will make those seriously looking for joy in their lives see the “secret” of Christian joy. Pope Francis does not believe that testimony itself will convert people, but he does believe it is the best beginning to a process of conversion.
LOPEZ: What are you most keeping an eye out for with Pope Francis? What can we expect to see more of? Should we expect surprises?
BERMUDEZ: Pope Francis is an absolutely genuine man. There is nothing fake or staged in his gestures and his simplicity. But he is also a firm, forward-looking, decisive shepherd. He is already surprising the world. But believe me, the best is yet to come.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.