And what an interview it was! It touched on a broad range of topics, including why Pope Francis doesn’t watch TV to what he thinks are the worst evils in the world today, and much more.
Here are 11 key parts that really stood out:
1) What he misses most about his life before becoming Pope
Going out into the street. I do miss that, the tranquility of walking through the streets. Or going to a pizzeria to eat a good pizza (he laughs).
2) He sleeps well at night, but always takes an afternoon siesta
I sleep so deeply that I lie down in bed and I fall asleep. I sleep for six hours. Normally, I am in bed at nine and I read until almost ten. When one of my eyes begins to water I turn out the light and I am out cold until four when I wake up on my own; it’s my biological clock. I need a siesta later, it’s true. I need to sleep from 40 minutes to an hour. There, I take off my shoes and I lie down on my bed. And I sleep deeply then too, and I also wake up on my own. On the days when I don’t take a siesta, I feel it.
[See also: 17 of Pope Francis’ Sweetest Zingers]
3) What he’s reading
Right now I am reading about Saint Silvanus the Athonite, a great spiritual teacher.
(St. Silvanus the Athonite was an Eastern Orthodox monk who lived in the last 19th and earliest 20th centuries at Mt. Athos. Devoted to prayer, he was sought out by pilgrims for his wisdom. Thomas Merton called him “the most authentic monk of the twentieth century.”)
4) He’s not afraid of being assassinated, but asks God to make to painless if it happens
In general, I’m not afraid. […] As far as assassination attempts go, I am in God’s hands and in my prayer I spoke to the Lord and I said to him, “Look, if this has to happen, let it happen; I only ask you for one gift: that it not cause me pain” (he laughs), because I am a coward when it comes to physical pain. I can withstand spiritual suffering, but physical suffering, no.
5) He acknowledges the media distorts what he says
[T]here are the problems they create for you, with what I said or didn’t say… The mass media also grab a word from over there and take it out of context. […] There’s nothing you can do against that enemy.
6) He reads only one newspaper, and just skims it for 10 minutes every morning
[And are you on top of everything that is published?] No, no. I only read one newspaper, La Repubblica, which is a middle class paper. I do it in the morning and it doesn’t take me more than 10 minutes to skim it.
7) He hasn’t watched TV since 1990 because he promised Our Lady he wouldn’t
I haven’t watched television since the year 1990 (he takes his time to answer). It’s a promise I made to Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the night of July 15, 1990. [For any particular reason?] No, no, I said to myself, “this isn’t for me.”
8) He doesn’t use the Internet at all
[Do you navigate on the Internet?] Not at all.
[See also: Two Public Converts From Pope Francis?]
9) Poverty is at the heart of the Gospel
Poverty is the center of the Gospel. Jesus came to preach to the poor. If you take poverty out of the Gospel, you don’t understand anything; you take its heart out.
10) What he sees as the worst evils in the world today
Poverty, corruption, human trafficking… I might be wrong about the statistics, but what would you say to me if I asked you on what item more money is spent in the world after food, clothing and medicine? The fourth is cosmetics and the fifth is pets. This is very serious, eh. Taking care of pets is like love that is a bit programmed; that is to say, I can program the loving response of a dog or a cat, and now I don’t need to experience a love of human reciprocity. I am exaggerating, this shouldn’t be taken literally, but it is something to worry about.
11) How he’d like to be remembered
As a good person. I’d like them to say: “This man was a good person who tried to do good.” I have no other aspiration.
Read the full interview in English on Aleteia.