Pope Francis, in a phone call with his friend and former pupil, journalist Jorge Milia, had some high praise for his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict.
Milia recounts the story in an article which appeared in Terre d’America, the blog of Italian journalist Alver Metalli. Milia reported that the Pope had teased him for sending a long (12-page) letter, and the two had laughed together. They spoke of many things, including the former pontiff. When Pope Francis expressed his deep respect for the Pope Emeritus, Milia responded, “Then keep him close.” Pope Francis agreed, saying, “There is no way I would turn down advice from someone like him, it would be foolish of me to do so.”
Milia continued, explaining how he had chatted at length with “the old… Argentinian”, an affectionate term for his friend. It is a pleasure, he said, to exchange ideas with him.
Here the Internet translation program fell a little short, converting the Italian article into English with a confused sentence structure; but the meaning, if not the exact wording, is still intelligible. Milia quoted the Pope as saying, more or less:
And really when it comes to Ratzinger does it with gratitude and tenderness. To me it’s a bit ‘the effect of one who has found an old friend, a former classmate, those who show up from time to time, and at school attended one or two courses after our and that in some so admired, perhaps with the difference that the time had smoothed, softened.”
Oh, well. I think he means, “I like him! I really like him!”