Today, America magazine published an exclusive interview with Pope Francis. The interview was conducted by Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, editor-in-chief of Italian Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, and it took place over the course of three meetings during August 2013 in Rome.
Fr. Spadaro conducted the interview on behalf of La Civiltà Cattolica, America and several other major Jesuit journals around the world. The interview was conducted in Italian, and America commissioned a team of five experts to translate it into English.
Fr. Spadaro begins the interview with a description of the pope’s living quarters and goes on to ask the pope why he became a Jesuit and what it means for the Bishop of Rome to be a Jesuit. In response to what element of Ignatian spirituality helps him to live his ministry, Pope Francis replied, “Discernment. Discernment is one of the things that worked inside St. Ignatius. For him it is an instrument of struggle in order to know the Lord and follow him more closely … I believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective change. And this is the time of discernment.”
Pope Francis also discusses the Society of Jesus:
“The Society of Jesus is an institution in tension, always fundamentally in tension. A Jesuit is a person who is not centered in himself. The Society itself also looks to a center outside itself; its center is Christ and his church.”
The pope goes on to speak about many topics, including the Roman Curia, women and the church, the Second Vatican Council and prayer.
Jesuit Father James Martin, an editor-at-large at America, told the The New York Times, “Some of the things in it really surprised me. He seems even more of a free-thinker than I thought — creative, experimental, willing to live on the margins, push boundaries back a little bit.”
Read the full interview at America magazine.