Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Pope Francis: I’m no Superman, just a ‘man who laughs and cries’
Catholicism » Pontiff addresses sex scandals, says he someday may follow Benedict’s example.
First Published Mar 05 2014 03:57 pm • Last Updated Mar 05 2014 04:18 pm

Rome • In a wide-ranging interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Pope Francis said media and popular culture references comparing him to Superman are "offensive" because he’s just a regular guy.

Reflecting on his first anniversary as pontiff, the pope also addressed the sex scandals facing the church and allowed that he might one day decide to retire as his predecessor did.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Last month, graffiti appeared near the Vatican depicting the pontiff as a kind of holy man of steel, armed with a briefcase labeled "values." The image got wide media attention, but Francis bristled at the comparison.

"Depicting the pope as a kind of superman, as a kind of star, is offensive to me," he said. "A pope is a man who laughs and cries and sleeps well and has friends, just like everyone else. He’s a normal person."

Francis’ first year was full of accolades, including Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. He was also nominated for a Nobel Prize for Peace.

He has brought a humble style to the Holy See and is seen as making progress in confronting some of the most difficult issues confronting the church, including corruption and a weak connection with rank-and-file Catholics.

One area in which critics say he has done too little involves confronting the sex scandals that have tarnished the church’s image.

Addressing that issue in the interview, he said the church has been scrutinized more than any other organization.

"The Catholic Church is probably the only public institution to have acted with such transparency and responsibility," Francis said. "No other organization has done more. And yet the church is the only organization to have been attacked."

He allowed that the abuse cases involving clergy have "left very deep wounds," but he also said they were not unique to the church.

story continues below
story continues below

Francis also praised predecessor Benedict XVI for being "courageous" and "opening up a path" for the church to change its attitude toward sexual abuse from clergy.

The comments were the most comprehensive on the subject of the sex scandals from Francis since the U.N. released a scathing critique of the Vatican’s efforts to confront the issue.

Francis repeated his admiration of Benedict for his decision to become the first pope in 600 years to retire. He said it could happen more often and that the church should develop an active role for retired popes. Francis even said he might one day decide to follow Benedict’s precedent and retire.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.