Pope acknowledges that immigrants leave their homeland “out of necessity”

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 27: Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he drives around St Peter's Square ahead of his first weekly general audience as pope on March 27, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Francis held his weekly general audience in St Peter's Square today (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Pope Francis expressed his regret over the drama and “serious problem” faced by undocumented immigrants, those who migrate “out of necessity,” and denounced that Africa continues to be an “exploited” continent by foreign powers who “establish their industries there not to develop the country, but to exploit it.”

From Vatican City, in an interview conducted in Spanish with Julio Vaqueiro, a journalist from Telemundo, Francis spoke about his own history as the son of immigrants (his father was a bank accountant in Italy when they migrated to Argentina) and nostalgically remarked that one always leaves something behind in their Argentine homeland.

To an immigrant, there is always a “lack of native air. You miss the native air. It’s not the same as having freshly made mate from your mother, your aunt, or your grandmother compared to making it yourself,” he responded to the journalist’s question.

He also discussed his health, abortion, sexual abuse, changes within the Church, and the request made by Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, among other topics, with the Hispanic reporter.

Regarding his ten years of papacy and the changes experienced, Francis said that “many things have been changed” in the Catholic Church, but what he implemented was what “the cardinals in the pre-conclave meetings had said needed to be done.”

“And when I was elected, I put those things into practice: the economic system, the new laws of the Vatican State, the Vatican Service pastoral, which is very important,” he clarified.

In the context of these changes, he emphasized that “part of this pastoral work involved women (…), who are very executive, very practical: the vice-governor is a woman. And many things have changed,” the Pope pointed out in the interview.

Francis, who was elected as Pope in 2013 when he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, his hometown in Argentina, downplayed his role by stating that “all of that was requested by the cardinals in the pre-conclave meetings.”

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