The Pope Speaks
UPDATE: Watch the Pope's interview! Listen to the broadcast with English translation here.
H/T to Amy and Fr. Stephanos
Here's an excerpt:
Question: Holy Father, let’s talk about your travels. You live in the Vatican and maybe it hurts you to be far from people and separated from the world, even in the beautiful surroundings of Castelgandolfo. You’ll be turning 80 soon. Do you think that, with God’s grace, you’ll be able to make many more trips? Do you have any idea of where you’d like to go? To the Holy Land, or Brazil? Do you know already?
Benedict XVI: To tell the truth I’m not that lonely. Of course there are, you may say, the walls that make it more difficult to get in, but there’s also a “pontifical family”, lots of visitors every day, especially when I’m in Rome. The Bishops come and other people, there are State visits. There are also personalities who want to talk to me personally, and not just about political issues. In this sense there are all kinds of encounters that, thank God, I have continually. And it’s also important that the seat of the Successor of Peter be a place of encounter, don’t you think? From the time of John XXIII onwards the pendulum began to swing in the other direction too: the popes started going out to visit others. I have to say that I’ve never felt strong enough to plan many long trips. But where such a trip allows me to communicate a message or where, shall I say, it’s in response to a sincere request, I’d like to go – in the “measure” that’s possible for me. Some are already planned: next year there’s the meeting of CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Council, in Brazil, and I think that being there is an important step in the context of what Latin America is living so intensely , to strengthen the hope that’s so alive in that part of the world. Then I’d like to visit the Holy Land, and I hope to visit it in a time of peace. For the rest, we’ll see what Providence has in store for me.
Question: I insist further. I admire you every Wednesday when you hold your General Audience. 50,000 people come. It must be very tiring. How do you manage to hold out?
Benedict XVI: Yes, the Good Lord gives me the necessary strength. When you see the warm welcome, you’re obviously encouraged.
Question: What role does humour play in the life of a Pope?
Benedict XVI: I’m not a man who constantly thinks up jokes. But I think it’s very important to be able to see the funny side of life and its joyful dimension and not to take everything too tragically. I’d also say it’s necessary for my ministry. A writer once said that angels can fly because they don’t take themselves too seriously. Maybe we could also fly a bit if we didn’t think we were so important.
Question: When you have an important job like yours, Holy Father, you are much observed. Other people talk about you. I was reading and I was struck by what many observers say: that Pope Benedict is different from Cardinal Ratzinger. How do you see yourself, if I may be so bold as to ask?
Benedict XVI: I’ve been taken apart various times: in my first phase as professor and in the intermediate phase, during my first phase as Cardinal and in the successive phase. Now comes a new division. Of course circumstances and situations and even people influence you because you take on different responsibilities. Let’s say that my basic personality and even my basic vision have grown, but in everything that is essential I have remained identical. I’m happy that certain aspects that weren’t noticed at first are now coming into the open.
Question: Would you say that you like what you do, that it isn’t a burden for you?
Benedict XVI: That would be saying a bit too much, because it really is tiring. But in any case, I try to find joy here too.