Pope Francis, the first anniversary interview

The Happy Pope

On life, love and the Church: In this revealing interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper, conducted for the first anniversary of his reign, the Pope tells us that he doesn't like the 'mythology of Pope Francis', for he is just 'a normal person.' 

- English translation, by CNA’s Estefania Aguirre and Alan Holdren.

Have you ever asked for the counsel of Benedict XVI?

Yes. The Pope emeritus is not a statue in a museum. It is an institution. We weren't used to it. 60 or 70 years ago, 'bishop emeritus' didn't exist. It came after the (Second Vatican) Council. Today, it is an institution. The same thing must happen for the Pope emeritus. Benedict is the first and perhaps there will be others. We don't know. He is discreet, humble, and he doesn't want to disturb. We have spoken about it and we decided together that it would be better that he sees people, gets out and participates in the life of the Church...

The theme of the family is central in the activity of the Council of eight cardinals... Great newness is expected. You have said of the divorced: they are not to be condemned but helped.

It is a long path that the Church must complete. A process wanted by the Lord.. with gradual steps - which for me are signs of the will of God - it was chosen to discuss the family, which is going through a very serious crisis.

It is difficult to form it. Few young people marry. There are many separated families in which the project of common life has failed. The children suffer greatly.

We must give a response. But for this we must reflect very deeply. It is that which the Consistory and the Synod are doing. We need to avoid remaining on the surface.

The temptation to resolve every problem with casuistry is an error, a simplification of profound things, as the Pharisees did, a very superficial theology. It is in light of the deep reflection that we will be able to seriously confront particular situations, also those of the divorced, with a pastoral depth.

St Francis had a carefree youth. I ask you, have you ever been in love?

In the book Il Gesuita, I tell the story of when I had a girlfriend at 17 years old. And I speak also of this in On Heaven and Earth, the volume I wrote with Abraham Skorka. In the seminary a girl made me lose my head for a week.

And how did it end, if I'm not indiscreet?

They were things of youth. I spoke with my confessor (a big smile).

***

To read more of this interview and Pope Francis's thoughts on everything from the role of popes, to women in the Church, to euthanasia, film and books, follow this link: 

Transcript: Pope Francis' March 5 interview with Corriere della Sera (Catholic News Agency)

Original interview in Italian: «Benedetto XVI non è una statua Partecipa alla vita della Chiesa» (Corriere della Sera)

More coverage:

Pope Francis grants interview to Italian daily Corriere della sera (Vatican Radio)

Is it a bird? Well, it's not Superpope (The New Zealand Herald)

Pope suggests church could tolerate some civil unions (The Catholic Weekly)

There's no need to change Church teaching on contraception, says Pope Francis in new interview (The Catholic Herald)

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