Pope Francis: “Cannot get out for pizza”
“In any event, I find a way”
In the interview, he seems tired and washed up, not closing the door on a potential retirement. In fact, he says, “I have the feeling that my Pontificate will be brief: 4 or 5 years; I do not know, even 2 or 3. Two have already passed. It is a somewhat vague sensation.”
I am reminded of this blog post: “Killing Time with Good Pope Francis”: “After all the fudging and bluster of papal history, they don’t really know what is ‘essential to the mission’ of the papacy.”
In any event, on to the interview:
Q. “Do you like being Pope?”
A. “I do not mind!”
Q. “What do you like or do not like about being the Pope? Or do you like everything?”
A. “The only thing I would like is to go out one day, without being recognized, and go to a pizzeria for a pizza. That would be nice. No, I say this as an example. In Buenos Aires I was a rover. I moved between parishes and certainly this habit has changed... it has been hard work to change. But you get used to it. You find a way to get around: on the phone, or in other ways ...”
Q. [The journalist asks the Pope about the fact that he has often said his would be a short pontificate and often refers to the possibility of dying of old age ...]
A. “I have the feeling that my Pontificate will be brief: 4 or 5 years; I do not know, even 2 or 3. Two have already passed. It is a somewhat vague sensation. Maybe it’s like the psychology of the gambler who convinces himself he will lose so he won’t be disappointed and if he wins, is happy. I do not know. But I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time, and nothing more ... But it is a feeling. I always leave the possibility (to programs) open”.
Q. “You also told us that will follow the example of Pope Benedict ... This changes a bit ‘the idea of the papacy, because we used that the pope was an institution created by the Holy Spirit and to the death’”.
A. “There were some cardinals who prior to the conclave, in the general congregations, probed the very interesting, very rich theological problem. I think that what Pope Benedict did has been to open a door. 60 years ago there were no emeritus bishops. And now we have 1400. They came to the idea that a man after 75, or close to that age, cannot carry the weight of a particular church.
“In general I think what Benedict so courageously did was to open the door to the Popes emeritus. Benedict should not be considered an exception, but an institution. Maybe he will be the only one for a long time, maybe he will not be the only one. But an institutional door has been opened. Today the Pope Emeritus is no longer a rarity since a door for him to exist as a figure has been opened”.
Q. “Can you imagine a situation where a Pope retires at 80 as is the case with bishops?”
A. “I can. However, I do not really like the idea of an age limit. Because I believe that the Papacy is a kind of last instance. It is a special grace. For some theologians the Papacy is a sacrament.”
On the topic of Roman Catholics fleeing “the Church” in favor of evangelicalism:
The Pope also speaks of “disasterous” homilies as another reason for the flight of Catholics.
“I do not know if they are the majority - but they do not reach the heart. They are lessons in theology and are abstract or long and this is why I devoted so much space to them in Evangelii Gaudium.
“Typically evangelicals are close to the people, they aim for the heart and prepare their homilies really well. I think we have to have a conversion in this. The Protestant concept of the homily is much stronger than the Catholic. It’s almost a sacrament”.
In conclusion, the Pope says that the flight of Catholics is caused by distance, clericalism, boring homilies as opposed to closeness, work, integration, the burning word of God. And it is a phenomenon that affects not only the Church but also the evangelical communities.