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Pope Francis grants interview to Italian daily Corriere della sera

(Vatican Radio) Less than two weeks shy of one year on from his election as bishop of Rome, Pope Francis describes himself as, “A man who laughs, cries, sleeps well and has friends like everyone else.” It is the self-description the Holy Father offered to the editor-in-chief of the Italian daily, Corriere della sera, Ferruccio De Bortoli, in an interview appearing in the paper’s Wednesday, March 5th edition. Listen: RealAudioMP3

The Pope’s wide-ranging conversation with the veteran journalist covers themes from bioethics, to styles and modes of Church governance, to his friendship with and esteem for his predecessor, Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI.

Some of the strongest remarks concerned the role of women in the Church. “It is true that women can and ought to be more present in the places where the Church’s decisions are made. This, however, I would call a promotion of a ‘functional’ type. Only, in this way, we do not get very far: We need to consider that the Church takes the feminine article,” he said, “She is feminine in her very origins (It. dalle origini).”

Asked whether it might perhaps be time to take up once again the question of artificial means of birth control, Pope Francis praised his predecessor, Paul VI, who authored the encyclical Humanae vitae, saying, “His genius proved prophetic: he had the courage to stand against the majority, to defend moral discipline, to exercise a ‘brake’ on the culture, to oppose [both] present and future neo-Malthusianism." The Holy Father went on to explain, “The question is not that of changing doctrine, but of going into the depths, and ensuring that pastoral [efforts] take into account people’s situations, and that, which it is possible for people to do.”