Correspondent in the Vatican
Pope Francis has granted an interview to the official Argentine agency Télam, in which he reflects on his pontificate, examines his conscience about his past, and, although does not mention his healthwhen the journalist tells him that he sees it “very well” and asks him if “we will have Pope Francis for a while”, the Pontiff responds jokingly “let the one above say it, I am not going to make bets, because I have always lost them in the life”.
In the long dialogue with Bernarda Llorente, president of Télam, edited in a video of almost 56 minutes, Francisco harshly criticizes the role of the UN in the face of the war in Ukraine, since “it has no power to impose itself.” He recalls that this organization raised great expectations after World War II, and that «it helps to avoid wars.
But to stop a war, to resolve a conflict situation like the one we are experiencing today in Europe, or like those experienced in other parts of the world, it has no power. No offense. It is that the constitution he has does not give him power.
Pope calls for “courage and creativity” so that “international institutions can help us overcome these very serious conflicts”.
As a balance of the pontificate, he assures that “I don’t think there has been anything original of mine”, since he has limited himself to implementing the measures requested by the cardinals during the meetings prior to the conclave in March 2013. He refers, for example, to the reform of the Curia and the restructuring of the financial institutions of the Holy See. But he does recognize that he has given an “imprint in the style of the Latin American Church,” which is specified in “closeness to the people.”
Referring to these nine years as Pope, he assures that “Bergoglio never imagined that he would end up here. I came to the Vatican with a small suitcase, con what I wear and a little more». Looking back, he assures that he sees himself as “a man who walked, who took a path, with ups and downs, and so many friends helped him to continue walking”, “a person who walked his life, who studied, who worked, who became a priest, who did what he could». He says that along that path he has been “learning in life to be universal, to be charitable, to be less bad.”
“You have to know how to drive”
He acknowledges that as Pope “I became merciful.” «In my life I had rigid periods, in which I demanded too much. Later I realized that you don’t go down that road, that you have to know how to drive », he explains. «As a bishop I was benevolent, but in the Jesuit stage I was very severe. And life is very beautiful with the style of God, to know always wait for people, give them time. Know, but play dumb like you don’t know and let it mature », she assures.
He says that if he had to look “from the outside” at the Pope “I think deep down he would say ‘Poor guy! The one that touched you!’ But it is not so tragic to be Pope. One can be a good shepherd.
In the dialogue, Pope Francis complains that the media often “take a sentence out of context and make you assert what you did not mean.” He gives the example of his recent dialogue on the invasion of Ukraine with editors of Jesuit magazines. «I said ‘here there are no good or bad’ and I explained why. But they took that sentence alone and said ‘The Pope does not condemn Putin!’ The reality is that the state of war is something much more universal, more serious, and here there are neither good nor bad. We are all involved and that is what we have to learn.
Use harsh words to refer to Latin America. The journalist introduces the question emphasizing that there they have begun to show «alternatives to neoliberalism from the construction of popular and inclusive projects».
Latin America “was always a victim, and will be a victim until it is fully liberated, of exploitative imperialism,” the Pope replies. “Latin America is still on that slow path of struggle (to achieve) the dream of José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar for the unity of the region”, “beyond ideology, with its own sovereignty, where each people feel himself with his identity and, at the same time, in need of the identity of the other”, he explains.
In the dialogue with Télam, he addresses other elements of his pontificate, such as the idea that to understand the world one must look at it from the peripheries and not from the centers of power; the reconstruction strategy after the pandemic; the disaffection of young people with politics; and the moral perspective of caring for the environment.
Despite everything, the Pope look to the future with optimism. Against the evils of the time “there is something that helps a lot: good humor. It is what most humanizes », he sums up.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism