On March 13, to mark the 10th anniversary of the pontificate, Vatican News aired a special 9-minute “Popecast” with Francis — born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina — who reflected on his life and his decade leading the Roman Catholic Church.
The Bishop of Rome’s voice heard around the world
Presented in a stylized format complete with musical flourishes and host commentary, the “Popecast” is distinct from standard Vatican media broadcasts of Francis’ sermons, audiences, and other religious addresses.
Vatican News journalist Salvatore Cernuzio, who conducted the “Popecast,” said that as Francis approached the microphone, his first question was, “What’s a podcast?”
After Cernuzio explained the medium, Francis reportedly replied, “Nice. Let’s do it.”
Francis began what were mostly wistful remarks by noting how time flies. Of his 2013 election after his predecessor Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation, Francis said, “The first thing that comes to mind is that it seems like yesterday.”
Francis went on to describe a persistent sensation of “living in tension” between the past, present, and future.
Changing times and technologies
Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936, when television was still a novelty, personal computers nonexistent, and communication patterns yet to be altered by the Internet and social media. Today, however, an expansive team manages the pontiff’s multiple profiles across Instagram and Twitter — an enterprise that has seen its share of hiccups.
And this week, having reached his late 80s, the head of the Roman Catholic church waited in the wings at his Santa Marta residence to begin his first-ever podcast, in which he reflected on the highs and lows of his tenure.
From his thousands of papal audiences granted, countless public and parish appearances, and 40 apostolic visits across the globe, Francis recalled one moment in particular that resonated deeply with him: Meeting elderly people from all over the world in St. Peter’s Square for a special mass on September 28, 2014. “Old people represent wisdom and they help me so much. I’m old too [...] But meeting the elderly renews me, makes me younger. These are beautiful moments.”
When the conversation shifted to low moments and challenges, Francis pointed to “the horror of war.” He remembered his first visits to the war memorials of Redipuglia and Anzio; the commemoration of the Normandy landings; the vigil to avert the war in Syria; and the current conflict in Ukraine. “Behind the wars is the arms industry. This is evil,” Francis said. “If no weapons were made for a year, world hunger could end.”
When asked what gift he would most like to receive for the auspicious occasion of 10 years as pope, Francis answered, “Peace. We need peace.”
Listen to the full “Popecast” (in Italian) here.