THE POPE AGAINST THE ULTRAS: “THEY’RE JUST MERCENARIES” The Pope treated several issues during his interview with the Argentine newspaper – “La Voz del Pueblo”

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“Also in Italy the ultras cause a lot of problems. They do not necessarily fight for their club, for the most part they are mercenaries” – this is what Pope Francis said in his interview with the Argentine newspaper “La Voz del Pueblo”. He commented about what happened a few days ago – four River Plate players attacked by a Boca Juniors supporter. “It’s a shame. These savage acts are made by someone who is spilling over with passion and arrogance…By someone who is unable to live in society”. During the interview the Pope treated several issues. He stated that the worst evils in the world are “poverty, corruption, human trafficking”. He explained that maybe the fight against poverty constitutes an unattainable hope, but it is also true that “hope makes us go ahead”.

Moreover, the Pope wondered: “After food, clothes and medicine, which are the things people spend more money on? Cosmetics and pet stuff”. “The attention towards pets” – he said – “is a sort of planned love…I can plan the lovely reaction of a puppy or a kitty and I no longer need a reciprocal human love…Evidently I am exaggerating – and these words must not be taken literally – but it is something to worry about”. The Holy Father also said that he never dreamed of becoming the Pope: “Never! Not even of becoming President or general of the army, as some guys dream of. I never thought it could happen”.

The Bishop of Rome thinks that the mass media sometimes “take a word and put it in another context” and this is what happened in a parish church in Ostia. “While I was greeting people, elderly and infirm people, I said ‘I do understand you, because I’m old like you, and just like you I experience aches and pains. I’m a little bit sick’. The next day the newspapers said ‘The Pope confesses to be sick’”. In the matter of possible terrorist attacks, he declared to be “in the hands of God”, ironically specifying to have asked the Lord “to not hurt him”. Effectively, he said “I prefer not to experience physical pain. I cannot stand it. Maybe because of the liver surgery I had when I was 19”.

To the question “Do you cry?”, he answered “I do not cry publically. Twice I was about to do it, but I managed to hold in”. He added that sick children deeply move him, as well as the “rare diseases caused by environmental inattention” and the “human tragedies”, as “the Rohyngias going up and down on boats in Thai waters, and when they approach the land, they are given food and water, but then they are thrown back into the sea”.

Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo

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