The popularity of Roman Catholic Pope Francis has soared as his “off the cuff,” conversational style of speaking continues to make headlines worldwide. In keeping with this trend, the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica recently published a transcript of the Pope meeting with a group of superiors general of religious orders last November, again sending waves through popular media.
Less emphasized in the press is a significant comment, quoted below, indicating the Pope’s desire to urge a multiperspectival understanding of the world’s complexity. Rather than simply suggesting the important emphasis of social justice toward the marginalized alone, the comment also discloses how the direction of one’s view can change not only perception, but empowers clarity and full understanding of realities.
I am convinced of one thing: the great changes in history were realized when reality was seen not from the center but rather from the periphery. It is a hermeneutical question: reality is understood only if it is looked at from the periphery, and not when our viewpoint is equidistant from everything.
Truly to understand reality we need to move away from the central position of calmness and peacefulness and direct ourselves to the peripheral areas. Being at the periphery helps to see and to understand better, to analyze reality more correctly, to shun centralism and ideological approaches.
It is not a good strategy to be at the center of a sphere. To understand we ought to move around, to see reality from various viewpoints.”
~ Pope Francis
The quote is found in Wake Up the World: Conversation with Pope Francis about the Religious Life , pp. 3-4.
Spardaro, A. (2014). Wake up the world: Conversation with Pope Francis about the religious life. La Civilta Cattolica(I), 3-17.