When Pope Francis addressed more than 100 leaders of male religious orders in November, he didn’t mince words.
He’s worried about the way young men are trained to become priests. “Problems are not solved simply by forbidding doing this or that,” said Francis, according to the Italian Jesuit magazine La Civilta Cattolica, which on Friday published his remarks for the first time. Seminarians should do more than just follow the rules, he said.
Training priests “is a work of art, not a police action,” he said. “We must form their hearts. Otherwise, we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the people of God. This really gives me goosebumps.”
Meanwhile, the pope also made news because he surprised a convent in Spain when he called over the holiday.
The prioress has told the media that she “wanted to die” when she found out she’d missed the pope’s phone call on New Year’s Eve, the BBC reports. He left a message on the nuns’ answering machine.
“What can the nuns be doing that they can’t answer?” Francis is heard saying on the recording, which has been broadcast on Spanish media. “Pope Francis speaking. I wanted to give you New Year’s greetings. I’ll see if I can reach you later. God bless you.”
The nuns were praying when the pope called. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he knew some of the nuns at a convent there.
The nuns weren’t crestfallen for too long. The pope called back and they got to chat with him.
To read an in-depth account of Francis’ off-the-cuff remarks to religious superiors, go here.