Link to America Magazine's translation of interview with Pope Francis


Read the full issue and interview here.

The interview can be accessed online at

In an extensive interview published today in the Jesuit journal America, Pope Francis speaks candidly about his historic role as the first Jesuit pope, his ideas on church governance, the moral teachings of the church and how he has learned from his mistakes.

I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition,” Pope Francis told Antonio Spadaro, S.J., who conducted the interview on behalf of America and other Jesuit journals around the world. “It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”
In a remarkably wide-ranging conversation, Pope Francis speaks about his years as a Jesuit superior in Argentina, where “my authoritarian way of making decisions…created problems”; the role of eight cardinals who will soon release a report on church reform (“I do not want token consultations, but real consultations”); and what it means to “think with the church” (“We should not even think…that ‘thinking with the church’ means only thinking with the hierarchy of the church”).

Father Spadaro, the editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Jesuit journal edited in Rome, spoke to Pope Francis in person in August 2013. Questions were submitted by Jesuit journals from around the world. The pope approved the Italian version of the interview. Americatranslated the Italian transcript into English. “Organizations as old as America rarely do anything completely unprecedented,” writes America editor in chief Matt Malone, S.J., in his introduction to the pope’s interview. “This issue of America, however, is truly a first.”

The 12,000-word interview, which will be released as an e-book today entitled A Big Heart Open to God, sheds light on Pope Francis’ nuanced understanding of church teaching and ministry. “The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent,” the pope says. “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.” On one matter the pope spoke with force and clarity: “I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else—God is in this person’s life.”

Pope Francis also speaks about the role of women in the church. “Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed,” the pope says. “We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the church.”

On the question of ministering to gays and lesbians, the pope shared this personal story: “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

The interview also touches on the role of religious orders in the church, the reform of the Curia, the legacy of the Second Vatican Council and what it means to “seek God in all things.” Pope Francis also speaks about his love for classical music and film.

America magazine is the national Catholic weekly published by Jesuits of the United States since 1909. The interview can be accessed online at

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