This just in, from Gerard O’Connell in America magazine:
Immediately after his election on 13 March 2013, Pope Francis told himself, “Jorge, do not change, continue being yourself, because to change at your age would be ridiculous.”
He revealed this interesting personal detail in a wide-ranging exclusive interview with Elisabetta Piquè, for La Nacion, the main Argentine newspaper, published today, December 7 (cf links below). She is the paper’s correspondent in Italy, my wife, and author of Francis: Life and Revolution (Loyola Press).
He responded to her questions for some 50 minutes on such issues as the synod, the vexed question of the divorced and remarried, the reform of the Roman Curia, the resistance to him, the alleged sackings of Cardinal Raymond Burke and the head of the Swiss Guards, and new foreign trips.
…Some so-called “conservative” sectors charged that Francis had sacked Cardinal Raymond Burke, former head of the Vatican’s Supreme Tribunal, because he was leader of a group that resisted any kind of change at the synod on the family. He denied this interpretation. He explained that “Cardinal Burke asked me one day what he was to do since he had not been confirmed in his post in the juridical sector, and was there under the formula, “until otherwise provided for.” He said he told the cardinal then, “Give me some time because in the G9 they are thinking about a re-structuring of the juridical sectors.” Afterwards he said, “the (position) in the Order of Malta arose, and there was need for a smart American there who can move in that milieu and so I thought of him for that post. I proposed it to him much before the synod and I said, “This will be after the synod because I wish that you participate in the synod as head of the dicastery (Vatican office), because as chaplain of Malta you will not be able (to do so).”
He said the cardinal “thanked me much, in good terms and accepted it, so it seemed to me that he liked it. Since he is a man that moves (around) much, that travels, and here he will have work. So it’s certain I did not sack him for how he had behaved in the synod.”
He also denied sacking the Commander of the Swiss Guards, Daniel Anrig, as the Italian and international media reported recently. He explained that Anrig’s term of office had actually ended two months after his election as pope but, not knowing the situation well, he asked him to stay on until further notice. Last July they agreed he would bow out at the end of the year, as it was time for a renewal. “He’s an excellent person, a very good Catholic, and a man who has an excellent family,” he added.