Pope says Church must not obsess about ‘small-minded rules’ or be a chapel for an elite

  • Francis believes real, effective change in the Church will take time.
  • When he took possession of the papal apartment, inside himself he distinctly heard a ‘no’.
  • The Church is not a small chapel for a small elite, ‘We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity’.
  • He goes on: ‘The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. ‘The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.’
  • He was made Jesuit provincial at only 36 – which he says was ‘crazy’. He said his style of leadership was authoritarian but he has learnt a lot since then.
  • He said it was wrong to think that ‘thinking with the Church’ means only thinking with the hierarchy of the Church; the Church is the totality of God’s people, pastors and people together.
  • Francis believes the decision of Pope Benedict [in 2007, to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass] was ‘prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity’. ‘What is worrying, though, is the risk of the ideologisation of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation.’
  • Regarding the role of women, he repeated his call for the development of a profound theology of the woman. ‘The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions. The challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in those places where the authority of the Church is exercised for various areas of the Church,’ he said.
  • With God, Francis says, you have to leave room for doubt; he warned against longing for an ‘exaggerated doctrinal security’.


The Pope says he still does not know Rome well but on visits before he was elected, he would visit the Church of St Louis of France where he would contemplate the painting of ‘The Calling of St Matthew,’ by Caravaggio.