Francis opens up on what it’s like to be pope

Popes don’t suddenly become perfect, sinless human beings after they’re elected to papal office.

Pope Francis says what being elected does do, is make a pope’s responsibilities greater and his prayer list longer.

As far as sin’s concerned though, Francis says he’s basically the same person he was before he was elected in 2013.

“The mere fact that I now dress all in white has not made me any less sinful or holier than before.”

Being elected pope hasn’t changed his experience of God, either, he says.

“I guess my experience of God hasn’t fundamentally changed.

“I speak to the Lord as before. I feel God gives me the grace I need for the present time. But the Lord gave it to me before. And I commit the same sins as before.

“I am and I remain a sinner. That’s why I confess every two weeks.”

Speaking of St. Peter’s insecurities and sometimes-wobbly commitment to the Lord, Francis says “There is no magic in being elected pope. The conclave doesn’t work by magic.”

Popes need people to pray for them, Francis says.

They need the grace that comes from this.

In this respect he says Catholics need to learn the art of the “the prayer of intercession,” courageously and boldly holding up someone else’s needs to God and asking God to intervene.

The global network Apostleship of Prayer, which is now known as the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, encourages people to pray for the pope’s intentions and specifies a new intention each month, Francis says.

“It is important that people pray for the pope and his intentions. The pope is tempted, he is very besieged: Only the prayer of his people can free him, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles. When Peter was imprisoned, the church prayed incessantly for him.

“If the church prays for the pope, this is a grace,” he says.

“I really do feel the need to beg for prayer all the time. The prayer of the people is sustaining.”


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