An Election Interview


PAXMAN (for it is he): You have been in office now for over four years. Can you tell us why nobody seems to know what your policy is about anything?

BERGOGLIO (for it is he): I think I have been very clear. I have made it crystal clear that I am in favour of peace and reconciliation in the world.

PAXMAN: Which amounts to precisely what? Just how do you propose to end terrorism, bring peace to the Middle East, and discourage nuclear proliferation? It’s all very well to have pious aspirations, but what is their cash value?

BERGOGLIO: I exercise a lot of influence. Just look at my recent meeting with Trump. I gave him a copy of Laudato Si.

PAXMAN: And much good that did! He went away and renounced the Paris agreement on carbon emissions. How in the world do you expect to influence others when you can’t even keep the peace in your own Church? What about women’s ordination for example?

BERGOGLIO: But I have said several times now that I am against the ordination of women.

PAXMAN: And yet you have set up a commission to study women deacons! So, are you going to ordain them or not?

BERGOGLIO: The commission, I am sure, will determine that deacons in the early church were a quite different order from those we have today.

PAXMAN: And if it doesn’t, what will you do then? It seems to me that you simply can’t make your mind up. I’m asking you whether or not you intend to ordain them. Thousands of women are waiting for the answer. A simple yes or no will do. Have the courage of your conviction; after all you are infallible: whatever answer you give will be the right answer.

BERGOGLIO: Jeremy, it really isn’t as simple as that.

PAXMAN: OK, then. What about divorce and re-marriage? Why do people disagree about what you have said? Why, when senior colleagues ask you for a perfectly reasonable clarification, do you refuse to answer them?

BERGOGLIO:  What I have written is perfectly clear. I cannot waste my time quibbling over footnotes.

PAXMAN: You may call it quibbling: but perfectly reasonable people think it demands an explanation. And then there is the affair of the Knights of Malta. What is your attitude to condoms?

BEGOGLIO: You know perfectly well Jeremy, that I hold to the teaching of my predecessors. In the Malta affair, that was not the main issue.

PAXMAN: You may say so. Others disagree.

I put it to you, Jorge, that you have made a pig’s ear of the last four years, that you are unpopular with your own staff, and that you would be in serious trouble were it not for the media support of a bunch of non-Catholics. Thank you and good night.

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