In a new book, Pope Francis reveals that he consulted a Jewish psychoanalyst once a week for six months when he was 42 years old and that it “helped me a lot at a moment in my life…when I needed to clarify things.” He disclosed this very personal detail of his life for the first time in a book-length interview with a French intellectual, Dominique Wolton, that will be published on Sept. 6, the day the pope travels to Colombia.
A report on the book first appeared in French media.
In this 432-page book, Pope Francis: Politics and Society. Conversations with Dominique Walton, the Jesuit pope shares hitherto unknown aspects of his personal life and his vision of the world. He talks about many subjects including the migrant crisis, pedophile priests, “the fear” that is gripping Europe today, politics and religion, dialogue between religions, globalization, the inequalities in today’s world, ecology, relations with Islam, fundamentalism, ecumenism, the family, communion for the divorced and remarried, joy and much else.
He also speaks about the women who have influenced him, including his mother, his two grandmothers and a communist woman in Buenos Aires—Esther Ballestrino de Careaga, who was killed during the military dictatorship in Argentina after founding the movement of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. He describes these women as “courageous.”
He talks, too, about other women in his life, including childhood sweethearts and adolescent girlfriends, and says, “I thank God for having known these true women in my life.” He confides that his relation with women “has enriched my life.” He underlines how women see things differently from men, “and it is important to listen to both.”
He repeats his opposition to gay marriage but accepts the civil union of people of the same sex.
He sees his role as pope as that of “a pastor,” and though he feels he is living in a cage in the Vatican he says, “I remain inwardly free.”
This book is the fruit of more than a dozen interviews conducted by Mr. Wolton, over one year, with the first Latin-American pope. Mr. Wolton, 70, a French sociologist, is founder of the Institute of the Sciences of Communication of the CNRS in Paris, and author of some 30 books, including an extended interview with the late archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger.