Francis: I am the son of migrants, at the time when they went to Argentina

In an interview with N+ de México, the Holy Father announces his trip to Bulgaria, his closeness to Marian devotion, and his desire to be buried in the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore

Durante la entrevista con N+
During the interview with N+

“The Mexican people deserve a mother. He chose Mexico for a reason”, Pope Francis told the Mexican media N+ in an interview broadcast on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the conversation with journalist Valentina Alazraki, he expressed his great appreciation for the people of Mexico, announced an upcoming apostolic journey to Belgium, and his desire to be buried in the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore.

“The Lord was great with us in giving us such a mother, and we have to repeat this phrase in moments of sadness, of love. “I am here, I am your mother, why do you doubt, am I not here, I am your mother, and that must give us the strength to go on,” the Pope said of the maternal love of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the devotion of the people.

“These three realities of the Virgin, the Indian, the tilma, the roses, speak to us of our Latin American identity. And then she made the promise, didn’t she? She is pregnant… every promise. And it is all inculturation because she is half black and that is very beautiful,” the Pope said when asked about his devotion to the Guadalupana.

The suffering of migrants

Asked about the migration situation in Mexico, he said: “It is a problem that is very close to my heart, but I know that not everyone agrees, right? There is a law that is human and Christian: the migrant must be received, accompanied, promoted, and integrated. What the migrant suffers… what he or she suffers… I am the son of migrants, at the time when they went to Argentina to become Americans… the migrant has to be welcomed. Jesus was a migrant”.

The Pope’s health

Valentina Alazraki told him that in Mexico they pray for his health, for which he was grateful and said: “I need them to pray for my health. And old age does not come alone. Old age doesn’t put on make-up, it is on its own, it presents itself as it is. And, on the other hand, to know how to accept the gifts of old age. You have to accept that you can do a lot of good from a different perspective”.

“I feel good, I feel improved. Sometimes I am told that I am reckless because I feel like doing and moving. So these are good signs,” he said.

Francis also commented in this interview on the courage of Benedict VI: “to say enough, and that does me good as an example, and I ask the Lord to say enough, at some point, but when He wants it”.

Simplification of the funeral rite of a Pope

He also reported that he had been “with the ceremonialist preparing the rite for the Pope’s funeral. We simplified them quite a lot. And he expressed his desire to be buried in the Marian Basilica in Rome: “As I always promised Our Lady, the place has already been prepared. I want to be buried in Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore”.

“Yes, because it is my great devotion, my great devotion. And before, when I used to come here, I always went there on Sunday morning when I was in Rome, I would go there for a while. Yes, there is a very strong connection,” he said.

Benedict XVI, “a humble man”.

And recalling his relationship with Benedict XVI, he noted that “it was very close. I sometimes went to consult him. And he, with great wisdom, would tell me what he thought, but he would say…. ‘You see’, he would leave it in my hands. He always helped me. He was very generous in that. And I had the grace of being able to say goodbye to him because I found out from a nurse that he was ill, and I told him that Wednesday at the hearing and I went to see him. He was lucid, but he could no longer speak, and he was holding my hand, like that. It was a nice farewell. It was nice. And then, three days later, he died. A great man, Benedict was a great man, a humble, simple man who, when he realised his limits, had the courage to say enough was enough. I admire this man”.

Apostolic journeys

Asked about his forthcoming apostolic journeys, the Pope announced that he will travel to Belgium: “That one is already assured and there are two, of course, pending, one to Polynesia and the other to Argentina, which are still pending. We’ll see how things work out. But as time goes by, I’ll get things back on track”.

Regarding the recent conversation with the new president of Argentina, he said: “you have to distinguish between what a politician says in the election campaign and what he is really going to do afterwards, because then comes the moment of the concrete, of the decisions, of those things”.

He also assured that he had already been invited to his country by the new authorities: “Yes, and I always have faith in politicians. I have faith in them… because I believe that politics, as a Pope before me said, is the highest form of charity, that is, love of the people, political love, the polis…”.

The drama of war

On the continuing calls for peace, the Pontiff reiterated that: “war is always a defeat, always, the only ones who win in war are the arms manufacturers. The bursar told me that a person who has no morals and who wants to invest, the best investments are the arms factory, the one that gives the most profit”.

Francis commented on his daily calls to the parish in Gaza: “Every day I call the parish. They have 600 people there. The little priests and the little nuns look after all those people and tell me what is going on there. What do we gain from the war, destruction, nothing more than that”.

Finally, Pope Francis assured his prayers for the Mexican people: “And may the little Virgin Mary smile on you, may she take care of you. You have a mother, do not forget, and take care of her. May you have a holy Christmas to all the Mexican people”.