Pope Francis said in a recent interview with a small Argentinian newspaper that he accepts the fact that he could be assassinated, but hopes that God will make sure it doesn’t hurt because he is "a real wimp."
Speaking to La Carcova News, a small newspaper set up by young people in a Buenos Aires slum, the pope said that if fanatics want to kill him, it is "God’s will." The pontiff’s remarks come after an assassination plot to kill Francis by detonating a bomb while visiting Manila back in January was reportedly thwarted by the Philippines military. This was denied by the Vatican.
After all, faith is a gift, it’s not a psychological state. When you are presented with a gift, you take it don’t you?
- Pope Francis
"I say to the Lord: You take care of me," Francis said. "But if it is your will that I should die or that someone should do something to me, I ask you only this: that it won’t hurt me because I’m very much a wimp when it comes to physical pain."
The Philippines National Police received information earlier this year that Southeast Asian Jihadist terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiya had planned to set off a bomb near the papal convoy during his visit, Former Special Action Force (SAF) commander Getulio Napeñas told the country’s congress.
Italian prosecutors have also warned the Vatican that the Mafia has considered killing the pope.
Francis’ comments were part of a wide-ranging interview that he had with the small newspaper, in which local youths collectively came up with the questions.
Besides talking about the threat to his life, the pope made strong comments on the risks that drug trafficking poses to young people across the globe.
"What worries me even more is the triumphalism of drug traffickers," the pontiff said.. "These people sing their victory out loud, they feel that they have won, that they have triumphed. And this is a reality. There are countries or regions that are now totally in thrall to the drug trade."
Many of the questions Pope Francis answered dealt with faith and the fact that the Church is losing followers.
"I find it so sad when I see children who don’t know how to make the sign of the cross," Pope Francis said. "It means the child has not been given the most important gift a father and a mother can give their child: faith."
He added: "After all, faith is a gift, it’s not a psychological state. When you are presented with a gift, you take it don’t you?"
The final question the pope answered was about a rumored trip to his native Argentina.
In his response, the pope confirmed that he should be travelling to Argentina in 2016 but said "it will need to be fitted in with visits to other countries."