At a June 7 Vatican event, Pope Francis ditched a prepared speech to 9,000 students, alumni and teachers from Jesuit-run schools in Italy and Albania saying it would be “a tad boring.” Instead, he gave a condensed version of his remarks and spent the rest of the time fielding questions from the crowd.
For thirty minutes, the pope answered questions — on topics as diverse as Jesuit education to his preferred papal residence. When one student asked why he chose not to live in the apostolic palace, Pope Francis said, “It’s not just a question of wealth.” His decision to live in a simple Vatican-run residence was “for psychiatric reasons,” he said teasingly. Living in an isolated setting “would not do me any good,” and he said he’s the kind of person who prefers living in the thick of things, “among the people.”
Pope Francis added that he does try to live as simply as possible, “to not have many things and to become a bit poorer” like Christ.
He urged everyone to try to live more simply saying, “In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it’s incomprehensible how there can be so many hungry children, so many children without an education, so many poor.”
A young girl asked Pope Francis if he wanted to become pope.
He laughed and said a person who wants to become pope doesn’t have his own best interest at heart. “God doesn’t give him his blessings. No, I didn’t want to become pope,” he said.
Another participant asked him why he decided to become a Jesuit. Pope Francis responded:
“What gave me the strength to become a Jesuit is the sense of being a missionary. To go out, to take part in the missions, to proclaim Jesus Christ. This is precisely our spirituality. To go out and spread the Gospel, instead of quietly staying closed in within our structures, that are often, old structures.” [Catholic News Service, Rome Reports]