In an expansive interview coinciding with the second anniversary of his unexpected election, Pope Francis said his time as the head of the Roman Catholic Church will be brief.
Francis said he misses the relative anonymity he had as a bishop. As NPR’s Sylvia Poggioli reports, “He also said he doesn’t mind being pope, but would like to go out in Rome unrecognized, for a pizza.”
The pope’s comments came in an interview with the Mexican broadcaster Televisa.
From Rome, Sylvia reports:
“Pope Francis said, ‘I have a sensation that my pontificate will be short: four or five years, or two or three.’
“‘I feel the Lord,’ the pope added, ‘has placed me here for a short time.’
“Francis also praised his predecessor’s decision to resign as courageous. Benedict’s decision, the pope said, opened the door to popes emeritus.
“Francis also focused on one of his favorite themes, denouncing what he called the injustice of wealth, saying it’s a mortal sin to give someone an unjust salary or for the rich to take advantage of the poor.
“Later in the day, Francis announced a special jubilee year starting in December to focus the church on its main priority: mercy.”
Remembering the week that he was named pope, Francis said he had packed only a small suitcase for his trip to the Vatican, and he had already written a homily to deliver on Palm Sunday, after returning to Argentina.
“He was not on any list of eligible candidates and neither had the thought entered his mind,” according to the Vatican News agency. “In fact, in London bookies had ranked his name in 42nd and 46th place. Yet an acquaintance, as a joke, bet on him and did very well.”
Discussing the idea that he would only remain pope for a short while, Francis said, “It is a somewhat vague sensation. Maybe it’s like the psychology of the gambler who convinces himself he will lose so he won’t be disappointed, and if he wins, is happy. I do not know.”