VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis gave an exclusive interview to Reuters at his residence in the Vatican. The following is a selection of brief excerpts from the interview, which lasted two hours. Quotes on other topics can be found in our stories.
ON THE VATICAN’S RAPPROCHEMENT WITH CHINA
“We are at a good point ....”
“... the Chinese deserve the Nobel Prize for patience, because they are good people, they know how to wait, time is theirs and they have centuries of culture. They are a wise people, very wise. I respect China very much.”
“Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer risk rather than the certain defeat that comes with not holding dialogue. As for the timing, some people say its Chinese time. I say it is God’s time. Lets move forward serenely.”
ON WOMEN IN THE CHURCH’S CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION, THE CURIA
“I agree that there must be more.”
“Women have an ability to understand things, they have a different vision of things.”
“I believe that it would be ... (less conflictual) in the Curia if there were more women. Some people have said it would lead to more gossiping but I don’t think so.”
“We cannot do this with Holy Orders (women priests) because dogmatically we cannot. Pope John Paul II was clear and closed the door and I’m not going to go back on that. It (John Paul’s decision) was serious, it was not a capricious thing.”
ON HIS HEALTH
“(My health is) fine. The leg is much better. I’m doing physiotherapy twice a week. It is a very simple physiotherapy to treat the whole area around the spinal column so that it does not suffer. I have no pain in the column. Yes, sometimes in the legs, but my health is good. This is a grace from God. I watch what I eat carefully. I can’t eat everything.
ON HIS DECISION TO SHUN THE PAPAL APARTMENTS
“It saved my life! As I told the children in the Salesian school who asked me why I chose this and if it was for reasons of poverty: No, because the papal apartment is not luxurious, it is large, but not luxurious. It is a big funnel with a small entrance. And I responded to the children that the choice was for psychiatric reasons. Here in Santa Marta, there is sometimes bother, indiscreet people, but very little. But here there is a great advantage - being with people. I eat on Sundays with the staff here, with the workers. For me this is human, it makes me feel alive. I enter the dining room, someone wants to tell me something, or to give me a note, or you learn about something going on. I can govern better this way.”
ON HIS PERSONAL HAPPINESS NOW AND BEFORE HIS ELECTION
“I’ve always been happy, even in Buenos Aires and the problems were fewer than here, but there is one thing that I do not know how to explain: from the moment that I realized that I would be elected pope until today I have not lost my peace of mind and maybe this is what gives me happiness. In Buenos Aires I sometimes lost my peace of mind because of problems. Here I have good collaborators and thank God, I have not lost my peace of mind.”
ON HIS VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH
“The future of the Church is on the street, on the road. Yes, it is true, it is also in adoration, in prayer, in temples, but we need to go out, go out. The Apocalypse says the Lord is at the door and he is calling us. Yes, he is calling us so that we open up to him. But today, I believe that many times the Lord is knocking at the door so that we open it to let him get out. Because many times we have a Christ who is locked in. Yes, a Church that goes out can run into accidents, but a Church that is closed becomes sick. Let’s go out, go out bringing the message: That is the future.”
Reporting By Philip Pullella
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