Guest / Limited Access /
What You Should Know About the Pope's New Interview
Rex Features / AP

On Thursday, September 19, Jesuit publications worldwide published an extensive interview with Pope Francis. The interview is being widely discussed in news outlets and blogs, with special focus being given to his statements on papal reform (in both attitude and structure), hot topics like abortion and gay marriage, and women in church leadership. While Francis addresses these controversial issues head on, they are not the full substance of the wide-ranging interview.

What all did Antonio Spadaro and the pope really talk about?

Humility

We've heard countless reports of Pope Francis's humility: his forgoing the luxurious, bulletproof popemobile for a vintage Renault 4, and his living in a Vatican guest room rather than the Apostolic Palace. But in this interview, we encounter a new dimension of the pope's modesty.

Spadaro asks Pope Francis point-blank, "Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?" The pope's answer is shocking: "I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. … I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance." It is striking, on a personal level, that the pope would declare himself first and foremost as a sinner. After all, he is the Holy Father, the head of the Catholic Church. Though many Christian leaders are reluctant to speak publically about their shortcomings, the pope nevertheless recognizes his tendencies as a sinner, and confesses wholehearted trust in God's unending grace. And he states that penance is a response to God's grace, not the mechanism that activates God's grace.

The pope was also honest about his past leadership ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current Issue500 Years After Luther, We Still Feel the Pressure to Be Justified
Subscriber Access Only 500 Years After Luther, We Still Feel the Pressure to Be Justified
Luther's law/gospel insight is as brilliant as ever—especially in 21st century America.
RecommendedWhy are Protestant and Catholic Bibles different?
Why are Protestant and Catholic Bibles different?
To find the answer, we must look to the Councils of Jamnia...
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickLatasha Morrison: The Church Is the ‘Only Place Equipped to Do Racial Reconciliation Well’
Latasha Morrison: The Church Is the ‘Only Place Equipped to Do Racial Reconciliation Well’
The founder of Be the Bridge reveals her vision for solving America's race problem.
Christianity Today
What You Should Know About the Pope's New Interview
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.