The best way to get to know Pope Francis is reading his interviews. So far, he has given three:the press conference on the flight from Rio de Janeiro, the sit-down interview with Antonio Spadaro, director of the Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, and the latest one published Tuesday in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
For Pope Francis, the "Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy.”
Pope Francis stressed that the problem has nothing to do with the heads of Roman Curia, but with the middle managers that "look after the interests of the Vatican, which are temporal interests. This Vatican-centric view neglects the world around us.” That's why, he explains, he wants to make the Church "an organization that is not just top-down but also horizontal.”
Pope Francis also gives details of his election. After the Cardinals chose him, he asked to be left alone in a room before saying yes or no. "My head was completely empty and I was seized by a great anxiety. To make it go away and relax I closed my eyes and made every thought disappear, even the thought of refusing to accept the position... At a certain point I was filled with a great light. It lasted a moment, but to me it seemed very long.”
Pope Francis also expressed concern about global youth unemployment and the loneliness of the elderly. "Without a memory of the past and without the desire to look ahead to the future by building something, a future, a family, can you go on like this?” The Pope describes them as "the most urgent problem that the Church is facing.”