Home News Pope Reveals What He Regrets After Years of Power: ‘I Made a Mistake’

Pope Reveals What He Regrets After Years of Power: ‘I Made a Mistake’

by Atlanta Business Journal

If he could go back in time, Pope Francis would do things differently.

Pope Francis sat down last week for an all-encompassing interview with the Catholic magazine America that touched on everything from the war in Ukraine, abortion, sexual abuse within the church—and his biggest regret from his papacy.

The 85-year-old pope, who has served in his position for 10 years, was asked if, looking back, there were things he would have done differently during his time as the leader of the Catholic Church. While he admitted that he would make some changes if he had the chance, the only thing he regretted was not always doing what the Holy Spirit advised.

“All! All! All differently!” he said, laughing. “However, I did what the Holy Spirit was telling me I had to do. And when I did not do it, I made a mistake.”

Above, Pope Francis during the Mass at Asti Cathedral on November 20, 2022, in Asti, Italy. The pope recently spoke about his regrets and what he would have done differently during his papacy.
Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

The topic of the Holy Spirit has often arisen in the pope’s teachings. Last year, Pope Francis described the Holy Spirit as an advocator and comforter during a mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. He said it “impels us to unity, to harmony, to the harmony of diversity,” according to the National Catholic Reporter.

He advised people listening to the Holy Spirit to “look to the whole” and to “say no” to ideologies, as ideologies can spark division and opposition.

At a Holy Mass in 2020, the pope told Catholics to follow the Holy Spirit by opening their heart, knowing Jesus and becoming familiar with the Bible’s teachings, the news outlet Catholic Say reported.

Pope Francis is known for often having a tolerant and modern view on important Catholic topics. In 2020, the pope said that gay people “have a right to a family” and said he supported same-sex civil unions. But he’s taken a firmer stance on other topics, such as urging Christians to avoid pornography and also opposing abortion, describing the procedure as akin to “hiring a hit man” to solve a problem.

Popes speaking of regrets or apologizing for their own actions is not unheard of.

Pope Benedict, who preceded Pope Francis with service from 2005 to 2013, spoke on his regrets in 2009. Pope Benedict said he regretted the lack of communication around lifting an ex-communication from four bishops in 2009 in an article by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.

In 2006, Pope Benedict also said he regretted offending Muslims during a speech in Germany when he cited a Byzantine text that called some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad “evil and inhuman.”

A statement from the Vatican following widespread backlash to the remarks said that Benedict “sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions.”

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