In an interview published by Spanish language newspaper El País, Pope Francis said he is most concerned with those in the Church – Bishops, priests, nuns, laymen – who are ‘anesthetized,’ rather than those who are asleep. Those who are anesthetized, he said, “sell out to worldliness.” An anesthetized person, he said, “is not in touch with people, he protects himself against reality.” When such people are in the Church, he said, they “should pack [their] bags and retire.”
Once again, the Holy Father covered a wide range of topics in a newspaper interview, touching again on subjects that are near and dear to his heart – including the “world war” currently being waged “in pieces”; the problem of migration, which involves both welcoming and integrating migrants; the problems of embracing ideologies; and the problems of corruption, especially in the modern world, which worships the “god of money.”
Pope Francis was asked in particular about current world events, including the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. “I think we must wait and see,” he said with regard to the new US administration. “I don’t like to get ahead of myself nor judge people prematurely. We will see how he acts, what he does, and then I will have an opinion.” He warned against premature reactions: “Being afraid or rejoicing beforehand, because of something that might happen, is, in my view, unwise,” he said.
The Pope had words of praise for his successor, Paul VI, whom he called an unappreciated martyr. He also praised his collaborators in the Roman curia, saying some of them are true saints. The Pope also spoke at some length about what he called the “middle class of sanctity”: mothers, fathers, families, ordinary people, with their sins and their virtues, who strive to lead a Christian life.
The interview with Pope Francis also touched on the Vatican’s role as a mediator in diplomatic conflicts, with the Holy Father emphasizing the importance of dialogue. The Church’s relations with various countries, including Spain, Venezuela and Colombia, and China, also came up in the conversation.
At the close of the interview, asked about what he hopes for from the conclave that will elect his successor, Pope Francis said, “I want it to be Catholic.” He said he wasn’t sure if he would see that election – a reference to the possibility of resigning – or if God would “carry [him] away” before that.
Pope Francis concluded the interview saying “The Lord is good, and hasn’t taken away my good humour.”