Pope Francis admitted to being “lazy” and conflict averse in a new Netflix docuseries in which the man at the centre of a major effort to reform the Catholic Church claims he doesn’t like having to impose his authority.
“If you ask me if I am a fighter, I’ll reply: ‘No, I’m lazy’. By nature I am more of a lazy person than a fighter. If I can avoid a fight, I avoid it,” he said in “Stories of a Generation,” up for release on on Christmas Day.
The 85-year-old said he finds it “very difficult” to mete out justice and hand out punishments, because it is like a “fight” where there are “winners and losers.”
“I don’t like it, but there is no life without fighting. It is something that we have inside. To survive, we have to fight.”
During his nearly nine years in charge of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, Francis has hardly lacked resolve or shied away from confrontation, usually with the arch-conservative minority resisting his relatively liberal approach.
The pope wants the Catholic Church to focus on social justice, poverty, migrants and climate change, to be flexible towards those who do not comply with its teachings – notably on abortion, divorce and homosexuality – and to worry less about rules and regulations.
This year, he again antagonised church traditionalists by reintroducing restrictions to the old Latin Mass, which his predecessor Benedict XVI had relaxed in 2007.
Yesterday/THURS, in a traditional pre-Christmas speech, Francis doubled down on his enemies, lashing at cardinals and bishops who “rigidly” hide behind Catholic Church traditions rather than seek out the neediest with humility.
In the Netflix docuseries, which consists of 18 interviews with elderly figures including Martin Scorsese and Dame Dr Jane Goodall DBE, the pope mused about his passions, including tango and poetry.
“Tango is a melody that evokes nostalgia and hope”, he said of the national dance of his native Argentina. He also recalled writing poems as a young man, but, he added, “I would tear them up afterwards because I didn’t like them.”
In a separate interview with Italian newspapers La Repubblica and La Stampa, Francis said he was doing well after spending more than 10 days in hospital in July for colon surgery, his most serious known health problem since becoming pope in 2013.
“I am not a kid anymore, but I’m fine”.