English Translation of Pope Francis' Press Conference

CNA (photo: Pope Francis disembarks the papal plane after returning from World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.)

ZENIT has helpfully translated the first part of Pope Francis' press conference on the papal plane back from Brazil which can be read here. The second part will be published tomorrow.   

As has been reported elsewhere, the frankness of the Pope's responses is a clear break with the past. True, Benedict XVI and John Paul II could be candid during such briefings, but they tended to refrain from going into too much detail, or discussing in any great depth their perceptions of the Vatican or how or why they made decisions. 

Pope Francis is also the first Pontiff to face an 80 minute press conference of spontaneous questions.   

Some aspects that hadn't received so much attention in earlier reports:

* After his election, the Pope didn't see economic reform of the Vatican as the overriding priority, but circumstances meant he had to bring dealing with the issue forward.

* He said he has always asked people to pray for him, and it increased in frequency when he became a bishop. He said it is because he feels one cannot go forward helping the People of God if the Lord doesn’t help in this work. Asking for prayer comes from within, he said, and it's a habit "that comes from the heart."

* Although he said there are "Saints in the Curia", he believes the sanctity of officials has "fallen somewhat from the level that it had some time ago", of the "old Curia man, faithful, who did his work." He said the Curia has a need for such persons.

* He said he had received help in his attempts to reform the Curia and little or no resistance, but he admits he hasn't done much yet in this regard.

* Asked about why he didn't mention issues such as same-sex 'marriage' or abortion during the trip, Pope Francis said the Church has "already expressed herself perfectly about this." When pressed further, he said it was necessary to talk about "positive things that open the way to youngsters" and that young people "know perfectly well what the position of the Church is." The journalist pressed him even further, asking the Pope what his position is, to which he replied: "That of the Church. I’m a child of the Church."  

* The Pope was then asked why he introduced himself as the Bishop of Rome after his election, and has made a point of it ever since. He said that among the titles of the Pope, his first title is “Bishop of Rome,” and "everything stems from there." It does not mean to be primus inter pares (first among equals) but this is simply the Pope’s first title, he said. He also said he believes this "favors ecumenism somewhat."