In a candid 2019 interview published on Saturday, Pope Francis reveals that he sees himself “dying as Pope” in Rome, without returning home to his native Argentina. Source: Crux.
In the interview, published by Argentina’s paper of record, La Nacion, Pope Francis acknowledges that he does think about death, but says he is not afraid of it.
Asked how he sees his final days, Francis, 84, responded: “I will be pope, either active or emeritus, and in Rome. I will not return to Argentina.”
The interview is part of a book by Argentine journalist Nelson Castro titled The Health of the Popes. In it, Pope Francis refers to the fact that when he was a Jesuit novice he had surgery to remove cysts in his lung, something from which, he insisted, he’s fully recovered. If he doesn’t disclose it, he said, most doctors examining him don’t even notice.
He also spoke about having gone to a psychiatrist when he was the head of the Jesuits in Argentina, a period that coincided with the country’s last military coup (1976-1983), to try to address the anxiety he was feeling due to hiding people wanted by the military and moving them in his car, with only a blanket as cover.
Francis said it wasn’t hard for him to consult with the psychiatrist because he is “very open” to psychology, and he noted that he’s convinced that “the study of human psychology is necessary for a priest.”
The Pope does not, however, agree with a priest serving as a therapist, because the roles become confused and it’s difficult for the priest to maintain the appropriate distance.
Pope Francis says he’ll die in Rome, not in Argentina (By Ines San Martin, Crux)
Pope Francis: ‘A faith without doubts cannot advance’ (Vatican News)