Pope grants radio interview, remembers priests close to the poor

2014-03-15 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) In a video interview with Argentinean Radio Station, 88.1 FM Bajo Flores, Pope Francis called for the adoption of a spirit of poverty and defended priests, who live and work in slums among the poor.

The radio station, which broadcasts from the slums of Buenos Aires, projected the video interview on a large screen in the local parish on the first anniversary of Pope Francis’ pontificate. Hundreds turned out to watch.

This poor neighbourhood, located close to the soccer stadium, are the same slums where Pope Francis, then-Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, would celebrate the Eucharist, spend time among the poor and assign priests to serve.

The interview, titled “El Papa de los villeros” (Pope of the slums), features 12 questions about the presence of the Church among the poor and the marginalized.

In it, the Pope remarks on the importance of educating and accompanying the young. He also speaks about the priests who live and minister in the slums. Their ministry, he says, “is not something ideological but an apostolic mission”.

“They were not communists,” he says, countering past criticisms, “but great priests that listened to the people of God and fought for justice”.

The Pope also expresses the need “to have an attitude of poverty and service, of assistance to others”. At the same time, he continues, we need “to allow ourselves to be helped…we need each other”.

When asked what he likes least about the papacy, the Pope says his paperwork, confiding that he has always struggled with office work.

He concludes the interview with a greeting to prisoners and to their families and a request for prayers.

Listen to the report by Andrew Summerson: