Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Pope Francis not a superman

05 March 2014, 19:01

Vatican City - Pope Francis has played down the notion that he is a "superman" who will bring sweeping reforms to the Roman Catholic church, stressing that its ban on contraception and opposition to gay marriage will remain in place.

The pope, in an interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper published on Wednesday, also said no institution had moved with more "transparency and responsibility" than the Church to protect children in the wake of its sexual abuse scandals.

Since his election as pope nearly a year ago, Francis has promoted the idea of a more humble church focused on the needs of the poor, winning huge popularity and raising expectations that it would soften its rules on such issues as contraception, cohabitation, divorce and gay relationships.

Asked what he felt about his celebrity status, Francis said he disliked the "mythology" of him as a man who could meet all expectations.

"To depict the pope as a sort of superman, a sort of star, seems offensive to me. The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps tranquilly and has friends like everyone else, a normal person," he said.

Francis made clear he did not envision changing the Church's stance on such issues as the ban on artificial birth control enshrined in Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Human Life).

A synod of bishops to be held in October would discuss ways of applying and explaining it better, he said, calling the encylical "prophetic and courageous".

"It's not a question of changing the doctrine but going deeper so that pastoral concern takes into account situations and what can be done for people," he said, without elaborating.

A worldwide survey of Catholics last year showed a deep divide between Church officials and the faithful on issues of sexual morality.

Defended church

Last month Francis urged a gathering of cardinals to be "intelligent, courageous and loving" in a debate on family-related issues.

His words in the interview appeared to be a warning to liberals not to expect too much.

Asked about the sexual abuse scandal, in which many priests who molested children were moved from parish to parish instead of being dismissed, he said the Church had done much since the scandal first broke some 15 years ago and was being singled out for attack.

He defended the Church's record, including that of his predecessor former Pope Benedict, whom Francis credited with having the courage to start reforms.

"On this path, the Church has done much, perhaps more than all others," he said.

"The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that has moved with transparency and responsibility. No-one has done more, and yet the Church is the only one that is being attacked," he said.

He appeared to be referring to a report by a United Nations committee last month which accused the Vatican of systematically turning a blind eye to decades of sexual abuse of children by priests, and demanded it turn over known or suspected offenders to civil justice.

The Vatican said the report was distorted, unfair and ideologically slanted.

The pope also denied reports last year that he occasionally slips out of his residence incognito to feed the homeless in the neighbourhood near the Vatican.

"Doing that never entered my mind," he said.

He also said the last film he has seen was Life is Beautiful, by Italian director Roberto Begnini, which won the Oscar for best foreign film in 1999.

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
DP Ruto accuses Raila of selling ...

DP Wiliam Ruto has castigated Raila Odinga for seeking western support to fund his 2017 election bid. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Peter Kenneth announces Uhuru 201...

Peter Kenneth has announced that he will support President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilon Ochieng
Labour Party to dump both Jubilee...

The Labour Party of Kenya is likely to avoid supportoing both the CORD and Jubilee factions during the 2017 General Elections. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Ukambani MP quits Jubilee, to run...

An Ukambani MP has quit the Jubilee Party, citing voter apathy as his reason behind leaving the ruling coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Government launches probe into Po...

The government has launched an inquiry into the circumstances that could have led to two National Police Service helicopter accidents in August and September this year. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...