"It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else."
In addition, the Holy Father cautioned against temptations to seek God in the past or in a possible future, saying that "God is to be encountered in the world of today" and that the Lord is present in every person's life, no matter what their circumstances.
The interview also touched on the Pope's personal preferences in books, movies and music, as well as his prayer life and spiritual journey to join the Jesuit order, which attracted him with its missionary spirit, community and discipline.
Reflecting on the Ignatian spirituality's emphasis on discernment, he encouraged a mindset that is constantly seeking God, while remaining alert because we do not know where we may encounter him.
Asked to describe himself, Pope Francis said he is "a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon," both "a bit astute" and "a bit naive." He recounted mistakes he made as a Jesuit provincial superior, especially his "authoritarian and quick manner of making decisions."
The Pontiff also reflected on the nature of the Church, stressing that it is "the people of God, pastors and people together."
"No one is saved alone, as an isolated individual, but God attracts us looking at the complex web of relationships that take place in the human community. God enters into this dynamic, this participation in the web of human relationships."
He commented that Pope Benedict's decision to allow the wider celebration of the Tridentine Mass was a "prudent" move to help those sensitive to the old Mass, but voiced worry of a possible "exploitation" and "ideologization" of the old rite.
On the topic of church reform, he said structural reforms are "secondary" to a change in attitude.
"The ministers of the Gospel must be people who can warm the hearts of the people, who walk through the dark night with them, who know how to dialogue and to descend themselves into their people's night, into the darkness, but without getting lost," he said. "The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials."
In addition, the Holy Father emphasized the essential role of women in the Church.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
"Mary, a woman, is more important than the bishops," he said, adding that women's "feminine genius" is needed for important decisions.
The Church must "work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman," he said, while also noting that he is "wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of 'female machismo,' because a woman has a different make-up than a man."