Turning to populism, he expressed his concern over the movement's expansion in Europe. “Populism is evil and ends badly, as the past century has shown … Behind populism there is always a messianism: always.”
He reminded people that he is imperfect, saying: “I am a sinner, I am limited. We must not forget that the idealization of a person is a subtle form of aggression, it’s a way to subtly attack a person. And when I am idealized, I feel attacked.”
Francis was also asked about recent tensions with American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who in September joined three other prelates in penning a letter to the Pope voicing five "dubia" on his Apostolic exhortation "Amoris Letitia," which was subsequently published.
Tensions spiked again in December when Burke, Patron of the Order of Malta (a quasi-liaison role between the Order and the Vatican), was reportedly involved on the ousting of Knights' Grand Chancellor Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager.
A public row between the Order and the Holy See eventually resulted in resignation of the Order's Grand Master, Matthew Festing, at Pope Francis' request, the reinstatement of Boeselager as Grand Chancellor and the appointment of a papal delegate to oversee the "spiritual reform" of the Order, prompting rumors that Francis had either fired Burke or sidelined him in favor of his own man.
In his response to the question, Pope Francis said Cardinal Burke "is not my enemy," and affirmed that the American prelate still has his job.
"I didn’t take his title as Patron of Malta: he continues to be the Patron of Malta. But someone must repair the Order, and to do this I named a delegate capable of repairing it, with a charisma that Cardinal Burke didn’t have."
Pope Francis also discussed international trips he hopes to take, and mentioned that he won't plan to go to Germany this year, or the next.
“I can’t go to Russia because I would also have to go to Ukraine,” he added.
“The important one would be to go to South Sudan, which I don’t think I’ll be able to do – it was in the schedule to go to the two Congos: with Kabila [president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo] things aren’t going well, I don’t think I’ll be able to go; but I will go to India and Bangladesh, for sure, to Colombia, and then a day in Portugal, in Fatima, and then I think that there’s another trip being studied, to Egypt: it seems like a full calendar, no?”