Pope Francis granted an interview to TV2000 and Radio InBlu (both official media outlets of the Italian Bishops’ Conference), which aired on Sunday evening.
During the interview, Pope Francis responds to various questions regarding the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which he officially brought to a close on Sunday morning with Mass in St. Peter’s Square.
A few of the highlights from the broad-ranging conversation was a powerful reiteration of the Church’s constant teaching on abortion, calling the practice a “horrendous crime” and a “very grave sin”.
The Pope also spoke of his own opposition to the death penalty, saying, “There can’t be a true punishment that comes without hope.” He also said, “If a penalty doesn’t have hope, it’s not a Christian penalty, it’s not human.”
This shaded perceptibly into an expression of his unease with life imprisonment, which he called a “sort of hidden death penalty,” since it denies prisoners the hope of being someday restored to free participation in social life.
Pope Francis’ remarks on abortion came in response to a question regarding his own most striking experiences during the Year of Mercy, which included a call on the neonatal ward at a Roman hospital and a visit with rescued victims of human trafficking, both of which were a part of his “Mercy Friday” outings – monthly visits to people on the existential margins of society and to some of the organisations that assist the weakest and most vulnerable among us.
The Pope also renewed his call for “a poor Church” that is “for the poor” in keeping with the Gospel, and in this context, his repeated warnings against the temptation of riches. “[T]he greatest enemy of God is money,” he said. “The devil always enters through the pockets, always.”
Pope Francis also expressed his discomfort with praise, saying he has “an allergy” to adulation – and that those who praise emptily are really attempting by their praise to practice on the person they are praising. “To adulate someone is also to use them for your own purposes – whether hidden or visible – but to obtain something for yourself,” said Pope Francis.
Watch the full interview of Pope Francis, given to Tv2000 and Radio InBlu, the Italian Bishops Conference (in Italian):