“You cannot remove the dignity of the human being because we are images of God”
Monsignor Carlos Osoro Sierra (born in 1945 in Castañeda, Spain) was ordained a priest in 1973. After passing through several dioceses in Spain, Pope Francis appointed him archbishop of Madrid in August 2014. He is the vice-president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) and, since June 2016, of the Ordinary for the Eastern Catholic faithful residing in Spain as well. He was made cardinal in thelast consistory, in November 2016. Some weeks ago, after aneventwith young people of his diocese, we were able to interview him briefly.
“Early Christians attracted many people just with their normal life”
What can Christians today learn from the early Christians?
I believe we have to learn, basically, that they were men who had had such an encounter with Our Lord. People who had assumed in such a way the life that Christ had given them and put it into their very existence that they were real protagonists of the living presence of Christ here on earth.
They did not live by ideas; they lived by concrete realities and that is precisely what attracted so many people. We have to learn that faith is spread by attraction. As Christ does with us, he attracts us and we meet him. Christian men and women of the first centuries had this kind of attraction, as what we read in the Book of Acts, which tells us why there were many people who joined their community.
What should be the attitude of Christians towards their persecuted brothers today?
It must be an attitude of absolute reliance on constant prayer, an attitude of being close to them, of doing all means possible for those situations to change, helping those who have responsibilities and are able to approach the places of persecution, who make real interventions, because a persecution simply due to being a follower of Jesus Christ is an act of robbery of the dignity of the human being. You cannot remove the dignity of the human being because we are images of God. This not only applies to Christians. Killing someone is scraping the fullest sense of the dignity of the human person.
I think we must pay close attention to what Pope Francis told us a few days ago in a video about the persecution of Christians:
The Pope has often spoken about mediocre Christians. How can we avoid being a Christian solely living in the comforts of our sofa–in other words, a “couch potato” Christian?
A “couch potato” Christian is the one who has good ideas about the world but does not put them into action. We have to be Christians in the street. Let us show our Christianity through works that we do in someone’s name and because we have him such in us that, as the Apostle Paul says “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,”. We have him in us in such a way that impels us to give a helping hand to those who need, to draw all near to the Church, to discover that all men are my brothers, even though they do not think and believe as I do. That is not easy, and that can only be given to us by Our Lord and He alone enables us to do so.
I think one has to learn to get out of the sofa and actually get oneself out there, out in the streets. We have to get together with all men, in real situations in which they are, shaking hands with them, and, at the same time, sharing with them everything that we are.
An interview by John Joseph David Paje and José Manuel Navarro