May 21, 2024

Pope Francis Interview with Norah O’Donnell

POPE FRANCIS: THE FIRST with Norah O’Donnell
RevBlogTranscriptsNorah O'DonnellPope Francis Interview with Norah O’Donnell

Pope Francis talks about wars across the world, immigration, climate change, his vision for the Catholic Church, and his legacy. Read the transcript here.

Norah O’Donnell (00:00):

Good evening. I’m Norah O’Donnell reporting from Rome, overlooking Vatican City and St. Peter’s Square where popes have led the Roman Catholic Church for hundreds of years. Tonight, we bring you a special hour with Pope Francis. 11 years into his papacy, he’d never sat down for an extended wide-ranging interview with an American broadcast network until now.

Speaker 1 (00:24):

[inaudible 00:00:28].

Norah O’Donnell (00:27):

Wow. Buongiorno, Your Holiness. [inaudible 00:00:41]. Tonight our global exclusive with Pope Francis. He may be the 266th pope, but he is a man of firsts. Are we okay to start?

Pope Francis (00:51):

[foreign language 00:00:52].

Speaker 2 (00:53):

We have a new pontiff.

Norah O’Donnell (00:56):

Elected to the papacy in 2013, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina, he’s the first pope to hail from the Americas and from the Southern Hemisphere. This is incredible to hear the crowd there that has jammed into St. Peter’s Square. The 87-year-old is the first pope to choose the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, known for his simplicity and humility. He’s the first Jesuit pope-

Speaker 3 (01:30):

The Pope of the Holy See.

Norah O’Donnell (01:30):

… and the first pope to address the US Congress.

Pope Francis (01:33):

America continues to be, for many, a land of dreams.

Norah O’Donnell (01:44):

Pope Francis took charge of the Roman Catholic church at a crossroads between the child sex abuse scandal that stained Catholicism and the rare papal resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. In his decade as pope, his voiced support for progressive causes without changing doctrine.

Pope Francis (02:04):

[foreign language 00:02:05].

Norah O’Donnell (02:05):

When Francis speaks, the world pays close attention.

Pope Francis (02:08):

[foreign language 00:02:10].

Norah O’Donnell (02:11):

Just months into his tenure, he spoke on the subject of homosexuality.

Pope Francis (02:14):

[foreign language 00:02:17]?

Norah O’Donnell (02:17):

“Who am I to judge?” he said. The aim? Opening a church with declining attendance. What do you think about Pope Francis?

Speaker 4 (02:26):

He seems a bit more enlightened and open.

Speaker 5 (02:28):

He is just a pope of the people.

Speaker 6 (02:30):

It’s all a blessing when he speaks.

Pope Francis (02:32):

[foreign language 00:02:33].

Norah O’Donnell (02:35):

We were in St. Peter’s Square and I heard you talk about children.

Pope Francis (02:39):

[inaudible 00:02:40].

Norah O’Donnell (02:40):

We went to the Vatican ahead of its first World Children’s Day to talk to the pope who believes kids are the hope for the future. Do you like when you are called the people’s pope?

Pope Francis (02:50):

[foreign language 00:02:52].

Norah O’Donnell (02:54):

This is Pope Francis I.

Pope Francis (02:58):

[foreign language 00:02:58].

Congregation (02:58):


Norah O’Donnell (03:15):

We went to St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, where millions visit every year to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis. So there he is. What a moment. His namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, just below the window where he delivers his Sunday prayer.

Pope Francis (03:38):

[foreign language 00:03:39].

Norah O’Donnell (03:39):

This Francis prayed for those affected by wars around the world.

Pope Francis (03:43):

[foreign language 00:03:46].

Norah O’Donnell (03:50):

“I pray every day for peace in Palestine and Israel,” he said. His papacy has been characterized by modesty. Behind this window sit lavish apartments where popes have lived for hundreds of years. But not Francis. He broke tradition to live in Casa Santa Marta, a simple guest house nearby on Vatican grounds.

Pope Francis (04:18):

[foreign language 00:04:19].

Norah O’Donnell (04:20):

[inaudible 00:04:20]. That’s where we met him last month. During World Children’s Day, the UN says over a million people will be facing famine in Gaza, many of them children. What can be done?

Translator (04:40):

Not just in Gaza. Think of Ukraine. Many kids from Ukraine come here. You know something? That those children don’t know how to smile. I’ll say something to them and they’ve forgotten how to smile. And this is very painful. When a child forgets how to smile, it is extremely serious. Very much so.

Norah O’Donnell (05:09):

I know you don’t watch TV, but there are now pictures of starving children coming out of Gaza. What about those that call that a genocide?

Translator (05:23):

Genocide. Every evening at 7:00, I call the parish of Gaza. There are 600 people there, and they tell me about what happens. It is very tough, very tough. The food arrives. People rush to get it.

Choir (05:41):

[foreign language 00:05:47]

Norah O’Donnell (05:49):

This is the church on the other end of the pope’s nightly phone call located in the north.

Congregation (05:54):

[foreign language 00:05:55].

Norah O’Donnell (05:55):

It’s the only Catholic parish in the Gaza Strip, where just a small community of Christians remains. You talk to them almost every day?

Translator (06:07):

Every evening at 7:00 PM.

Norah O’Donnell (06:10):

We were granted access to the church’s compound, where since the start of the war, hundreds of Catholics and non-Catholics alike are seeking refuge.

Choir (06:20):

[foreign language 00:06:22].

Norah O’Donnell (06:25):

During their phone call every night, Father Youssef Asaad tells the pope about their living conditions. While supplies of medicine, food, and electricity are unreliable, he says they share what they do have with their neighbors. What do you say to them?

Translator (06:43):

I listen. The other day they were happy because they managed to eat some meat. The rest of the time they eat things made of flour. Sometimes they go hungry. There is a lot of suffering.

Norah O’Donnell (07:02):

What’s happening in Israel and Gaza has caused so much division, so much pain around the world. I don’t know if you’ve seen in the United States big protests on college campuses-

Protesters (07:19):

[inaudible 00:07:17]. Free, free, free Palestine. [inaudible 00:07:20].

Norah O’Donnell (07:19):

… and growing anti-Semitism. What would you say about how to change that?

Translator (07:29):

All ideology is bad, whether it is from the right, the center, or the left. An ideology is not an idea. No, it is something worse. And anti-Semitism is an ideology and it is bad. Any anti is always bad. So these postures of persecution, of condemning outright are no good at all. You can criticize one government or another. I don’t know, the government of Israel, the Palestinian government. You can criticize all you want, but not anti a people.

Norah O’Donnell (08:17):

I know. You call for peace. You have called for a ceasefire in many of your sermons. Can you help negotiate peace?

Translator (08:31):

What I can do is pray. I pray a lot for peace and also to suggest, “Please stop. Negotiate.” A bad deal is always better than an ugly defeat, is it not? Negotiate, negotiate. The white flag is for negotiating. Not for surrendering, but for negotiating. War is resolved through negotiation. Think of the dead.

Speaker 7 (09:02):

[foreign language 00:09:04].

Norah O’Donnell (09:05):

Tens of thousands have been killed in the war in Ukraine. In the two years since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade, Pope Francis has faced criticism for refusing to condemn Putin directly. Do you have a message for Vladimir Putin when it comes to Ukraine?

Translator (09:35):

Please, warring countries, all of them stop. Stop the war. You must find a way of negotiating for peace. Strive for peace. A negotiated peace is always better than an endless war. War always serves to destroy. Always.

Norah O’Donnell (09:57):

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off the biggest land war in Europe since World War II. That conflict shaped a continent and Pope Francis’ resolve that there must be another way.

Translator (10:14):

Whenever I visit one of the military cemeteries, I see the age of the kids. 18, 19, 20-year-olds. At the Normandy Landing, it was the beginning of the liberation of Europe, but 20,000 laid dead on the beach. I think of the mothers when they receive a letter, “Madam, I have the honor of informing you that your son is a hero and I’m sending you this medal.” The mother says in her heart, “I don’t want this medal. I don’t want a hero. I want my son.”

Norah O’Donnell (10:54):

How worried are you about climate change?

Translator (00:00):


Translator (11:02):

Unfortunately we have gotten to a point of no return. It’s sad, but that’s what it is.

Norah O’Donnell (11:18):

In St. Peter’s Square sits this monument to migrants. On top of a boat, a young boy fleeing the Irish famine, a Jewish man escaping Nazi Germany, a woman departing the Syrian Civil War, unveiled by the Pope in 2019, calling on the faithful to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate. This is a big story in the United States because there have been so many migrants this year. I’ve been to the border and many times it is mothers with children who are fleeing violence and they walk thousands of miles with their families for a better life, and yet there is a discussion about closing the border, limiting migration.

Translator (12:11):

The solution is migration, to open the doors to migration. For an immigration policy to be good, it must have four things, for the migrant to be received, assisted, promoted, and integrated. This is what is most important to integrate them into the new life.

Norah O’Donnell (12:32):

I grew up in the state of Texas, which is right on the border with Mexico. The state of Texas is attempting to shut down a Catholic charity on the border with Mexico that offers undocumented migrants, humanitarian assistance. What do you think of that?

Translator (12:52):

That is madness, sheer madness. Over there in Texas, there is a great bishop, Bishop Seitz. He’s right there at the border. That man does the impossible to help the migrants, right?

Norah O’Donnell (13:05):

We met Bishop Mark Seitz at Annunciation House, a Catholic charity in El Paso, Texas where their challenging the state’s attempt to shut them down for allegedly shielding undocumented migrants from law enforcement.

Bishop Mark Seitz (13:19):

This type of accusation puts fear into the hearts of anyone who generously gives of their time because of the Christian concern for people who are truly the poorest of the poor among us, people who have no place to go, nothing to eat, no clothes.

Norah O’Donnell (13:40):

Pope Francis addressed the plight of migrants head on in 2016 when he visited Juarez, Mexico, a city which shares a border with El Paso, Texas just before his mass to an audience of 200,000. He walked up to the border and prayed for those who died attempting cross into the United States. My grandparents were Catholic, immigrated from northern Ireland in the 1930s to the United States, seeking a better life. And I know your family, too, fled fascism and you have talked about with migrants, many of them children, that you encourage governments to build bridges, not walls, but not everyone feels that way in the United States.

Translator (14:33):

Migration is something that makes a country grow. They say that you Irish migrated and brought the whiskey and that the Italians migrated and brought the mafia. It’s a joke, don’t take it badly. My father and my grandparents arrived in 1929, and they suffered a lot. All migrants suffer. We are watching it unfold right now. They migrate to reach the United States and then there, they’re at the border unable to cross. Some can, some can’t. Such is the plight of the migrant.

Norah O’Donnell (15:23):

Notably, Pope Francis took his first trip as Holy Father in 2013 to Lampedusa, a small Italian island near Africa, where he delivered a big message. I was so struck when you talked about the globalization of indifference. What is happening?

Translator (15:46):

Do you want me to speak plainly? People wash their hands. There are so many who see what is happening. The wars, the injustice. That’s okay. That’s okay, and wash their hands. It’s indifference. They make comments about such dramatic events that are going on as though they were just at a sports match, no? Please, we have to get our hearts to feel again. We cannot remain indifferent in the face of such human dramas. The globalization of indifference is a very ugly disease.

Speaker 8 (16:29):

Mr. Speaker, the Pope of the Holy City.

Norah O’Donnell (16:34):

In 2015, Pope Francis was the first pontiff to address Congress where he talked about embracing migrants.

Translator (16:44):

Because most of us were once foreigners.

Norah O’Donnell (16:49):

One factor driving an increase in migration is global warming. How worried are you about climate change?

Translator (17:02):

Unfortunately, we have gotten to a point of no return. It’s sad, but that’s what it is. Global warming is a serious problem. Climate change at this moment is a road to death, a road to death, and it is an artificial climate change. No? Something provoked not the normal climate change. Right?

Norah O’Donnell (17:29):

You have placed blame on wealthy countries.

Translator (17:35):

In great measure, yes, because they are the ones that have more of an economy and an energy based on fossil fuels that are creating the situation, right? They are the countries that can make the most difference given their industry and all, aren’t they? But it is very difficult to create an awareness of this. They hold a conference, everybody’s in agreement, they all sign and then bye-bye. But we have to be very clear, global warming is alarming.

Norah O’Donnell (18:08):

So alarmed, he put the imagery of the climate crisis on full display and is the first pope to issue official Vatican documents, warning in his words that the world in which we live may be “nearing the breaking point.” What do you say to the deniers of climate change?

Translator (18:31):

There are foolish people, and even if you show them the statistics, still the fool will not believe. Why? Generally, it is either because they don’t understand the situation or out of a vested interest, but climate change is real. The warming of the earth has already increased by two degrees. That is a lot.

Norah O’Donnell (18:55):

You’ve talked about what St. Francis called Sister Mother Earth, that protecting our planet is the most pressing issue today.

Translator (19:11):

Yes, because it is the future. It is life. We say at the most stepsister earth, not sister, protecting the planet. How many young people today will not get to see so many things? It is a lack of conscience to use a plastic bottle and then throw it to the sea. This makes the sea unhealthy. We have to be conscientious about repurifying nature.

Norah O’Donnell (19:42):

I’m curious, for a little girl growing up Catholic today, will she ever have the opportunity to be a deacon and participate as a clergy member in the church? Early on in his papacy, Francis got the nickname The People’s Pope. Because of his openness and wish to include everyone in the church, including gay, lesbian, and transgender Catholics. We spoke to him about this and the future of Catholicism, including whether women would ever enter the clergy. We went inside St. Peter’s Basilica and were granted the rare opportunity to see Michelangelo’s Madonna Della Pietà up close and behind the glass. The more than 500 year old sculpture represents the blessed Virgin Mary holding her lifeless Son after he was taken down from the cross. It’s one of the most, as you know, enduring images in Catholicism in the world about faith and about Mary and Jesus. The blessed Virgin Mary remains the model for women in the Catholic faith. She is revered as the steadfast mother of Jesus. And like Mary, many women feel called to serve but have decried the lack of leadership roles in the church. Growing up, my mother was a Eucharistic minister and a cantor in the Catholic church, and you have done more than any Pope to bring women into positions of power. How are more women changing the Catholic church?

Translator (21:38):

Women are the ones who move changes forward, all sorts of changes. They are braver than men. They know how best to protect life. Women are masterful custodians of life. Women are great, they’re very great. And making space in the church for women

Translator (22:00):

Women does not mean giving them a ministry, no. The church is a mother and women in the church are the ones who help foster that motherliness. Don’t forget that the ones who never abandoned Jesus were the women, the men all fled.

Norah O’Donnell (22:22):

Pope Francis has placed more women in positions of power than any of his predecessors. By the numbers, women are the backbone of the Catholic Church. Nearly 600,000 serve as nuns. But Pope Francis opposes allowing women to join the Church’s clerical hierarchy.

Norah O’Donnell (22:44):

You will have many young boys and girls that will come here at the end of next month for World Children’s Day, and I’m curious for a little girl growing up Catholic today, will she ever have the opportunity to be a deacon and participate as a clergy member in the church?

Translator (23:03):


Norah O’Donnell (23:05):

I understand you have said no women as priests, but you are studying the idea of women as deacons. Is that something you are open to?

Translator (23:15):

No. If it is deacons with holy orders, no. But women have always had, I would say the function of deaconesses without being deacons, right? Women are of great service as women, not as ministers. As ministers in this regard. Within the Holy Orders

Norah O’Donnell (23:36):

On holy Thursday, you chose to wash the feet and kiss the feet of female prisoners, only women. That was a first. Many people interpreted that perhaps as a message you were trying to send, since this time it happened to be only women.

Translator (23:56):

It is true. This time it was only women because it was a women’s jail. And the message is that men and women, we are all children of God. That men and women, we are all apostles and we all can lead. Let us not forget that the bravest apostles, the most courageous were the women.

Maria Maddalena, Maria Salome, Maria [inaudible 00:24:20]. They stayed with Jesus to the very end.

Norah O’Donnell (24:24):

Pope Francis’ devotion to traditional doctrine like his unwillingness to ordain women has frustrated those who want him to loosen restrictions against things like contraception and surrogacy. In January, Pope Francis said he finds surrogacy deplorable and would like to see the practice universally banned.

Norah O’Donnell (24:46):

I know women who are cancer survivors who cannot bear children and they turn to surrogacy. This is against church doctrine, but what about the children who are born from surrogacy?

Translator (25:03):

In regard to surrogate motherhood, in the strictest sense of the term, it is not authorized. See, sometimes surrogacy has become a business and that is very bad. It is very unpalatable.

Norah O’Donnell (25:18):

But sometimes for some women it is the only hope.

Translator (25:26):

It could be.

The other hope is adoption. I would say that in each case, the situation should be carefully and clearly considered consulting medically and then morally as well. I think there is a general rule in these cases, but you have to go into each case in particular to assess the situation. As long as the moral principle is not skirted, but you are right. I want to tell you that I really liked your expression when you told me, in some cases it is the only chance. It shows that you feel these things very deeply.

Norah O’Donnell (26:10):

Yeah, thank you. Yeah. I think that’s why so many people have found hope with you, your Holiness. Because you have been more open and accepting perhaps than other previous leaders of the church.

Translator (26:29):

You have to be open to everything. You have to. Everyone, everyone, everyone. That’s so-and-so is a sinner. Me too. I am a sinner, everyone. That he is someone with a diverse sexual gender, everyone. Everyone in, everyone. And once inside, we’ll figure out how to sort it all out. But everyone. Do not forget that the Gospel is for everyone.

Norah O’Donnell (26:59):

Even those the church has long shunned. The Pope meets regularly with transgender Catholics stating for the first time last year that priests could baptize transgender people. It’s part of Pope Francis’ pastoral outreach to those in the LGBTQ community.

Norah O’Donnell (27:22):

Last year you decided to allow Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples. That’s a big change. Why?

Translator (27:32):

No, what I allowed was not to bless the union. That cannot be done because that is not the sacrament. I cannot. The Lord made it that way, but to bless each person, yes, the blessing is for everyone.

Norah O’Donnell (27:55):

You have done more than anyone to try and reform the Catholic Church and repent for years of unspeakable sexual abuse against children. But has the church done enough?

Norah O’Donnell (28:21):

St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the holiest sites of the Catholic faith.

Norah O’Donnell (28:27):


Norah O’Donnell (28:28):

As we walked through, we had the opportunity to see parts most people don’t get to see. Does the public allow down here?

Father Enzo Fortunato (28:35):

No, it’s not possible.

Norah O’Donnell (28:39):


This is the holiest place in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Father Enzo Fortunato (28:44):


Norah O’Donnell (28:46):

St. Peter, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ is buried beneath the main altar of the Vatican. Basilica. Catholics believed Jesus instructed his apostles to spread the gospel to all nations. Peter, in the end, made his way to Rome and died as a martyr. And I know you want to show us this because it’s important to tell not only the world and show the world. But what do you think it will mean for children?

Father Enzo Fortunato (29:16):

[foreign language 00:29:18].

Norah O’Donnell (29:25):

Father Enzo Fortunato told us it’s because kids need to get something good out of the world, and that’s why the Holy Father is hosting the Vatican’s First World Children’s Day this weekend. More than 70,000 kids are expected to attend.

Norah O’Donnell (29:42):

As a mother of three children, it is very important to talk about the future. What is your hope for the Vatican’s First World Children’s Day?

Translator (29:56):

It is to provide a space for children to express themselves, and when children get to express themselves, they always give us a message. We need to understand that we must take care of the children. There are two important moments in life, childhood and old age. All too often it is customary to put the elderly in geriatric homes. And yet grandparents have a great message to give us about life and other times from not listening to children, we do not look after them.

Norah O’Donnell (30:31):

I read your letter that you wrote for World Children and the theme of World Children’s Day is in the words of Jesus, “Behold, I make all things new.” How can each child live by those words?

Translator (30:47):

Children are the new, but every child brings a new message. Maybe the message was out there already, but the child brings it back to life, gives it a new freshness. That is why one of the important things for mom and dad is to learn how to play with their children. Dad must learn to play with his children. Mom must learn to play with her children. This does not mean that they’re not going to set any limits, right? No. We must learn to set limits and that way between the freedom to play and express themselves and the limits that help them grow, children begin to mature.

Norah O’Donnell (31:26):

Pope Francis’ effort to focus on the well-being of children comes after hundreds of thousands of child sexual abuse cases have been linked to the Catholic Church. In 2019, the Pope made sweeping changes that allow for greater transparency, ensuring these claims will no longer be dealt with under pontifical secret, the highest form of secrecy in the church.

Norah O’Donnell (31:54):

You have done more than anyone to try and reform the Catholic Church and repent for years of unspeakable sexual abuse against children by members of the clergy. But has the church done enough?

Translator (32:11):

It must continue to do more. Unfortunately, the tragedy of the abuses is enormous. Three years ago, I had the statistics that came out of the United Nations from one of those official organizations. Nowadays, from 43 to 46% of the time it happens in the family or in the neighborhood. Then in the world of sports, 20%. Then In education. In other words, it is a tragedy. Fathers, stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers who abuse, it is a tragedy. Of course, priests or religious figures who abuse.

Norah O’Donnell (32:52):

You have said zero tolerance.

Translator (32:58):

It cannot be tolerated.

Translator (33:01):

When there is a case of a religious man or woman who abuses, the full force of the law falls upon them. In this, there has been a great deal of progress.

Norah O’Donnell (33:11):

I have three teenage children. One of the big issues is social media and mental health. What is social media doing to the world and our children?

Translator (33:32):

Communication media, some of them are very good because they have a conscience. They know how to report the news and things and also how to render criticism and that is very good because it helps with development, right? But there are communication media that alienate young people, don’t they? It makes them live in an unreal world, made up of fantasy, or in an aggressive world or a rosy world and so many things. The media has a serious responsibility, a media outlet that only lives off propaganda, off gossip, off soiling others is a dirty media outlet. And that soils the minds of the young and of the old as well. Today, how many hours does a person spend in front of the TV or on their little phones? How many hours?

Norah O’Donnell (34:32):

Like eight to 10, yeah.

Translator (34:37):

And your children, how old are they?

Norah O’Donnell (34:39):

I have twins, a boy and a girl that are 16. And then I have another daughter who’s 15, so three children in 13 months. But they’re wonderful.

Translator (34:59):

How beautiful. We need to walk beside our teenage kids. We have to be there for them and guide them with intelligence, with love. We have to listen to them. Listening to them is very important.

Norah O’Donnell (35:13):

So you have no plans to resign or retire? I know you don’t like this question.

Pope Francis was elected the 266th Pope at the age of 76. And he’s kept a busy schedule traveling to more than 60 countries in the last decade. As one of the oldest popes in the church’s history, he is not immune to issues of health.

Speaker 10 (35:53):

New health concerns for Pope Francis.

Speaker 9 (35:55):

The pope is recovering from the flu.

Speaker 11 (35:57):

Pope Francis is being hospitalized for intestinal surgery.

Norah O’Donnell (36:01):

Now using a wheelchair, he’s recently faced numerous health challenges, spending nearly two weeks in the hospital last year.

How’s your health?

Translator (36:14):

My health? She’s all right. No, it’s fine. It’s fine.

Norah O’Donnell (36:22):

The toll of the papacy became clear in 2013 when Pope Benedict XVI resigned because of his health, the first Pope to do so in almost 600 years. So you have no plans to resign or retire? I know you don’t like this question.

Translator (36:45):

Not at all. Ask all you want. It has never occurred to me. Maybe if the day comes when my health can go no further, perhaps because the only infirmity I have is my knee and that is getting much better, but it never occurred to me.

Norah O’Donnell (37:00):

For now, he has no intention of slowing down.

And I know you have some big trips planned.

Translator (37:07):

I have one now to the Far East, then Belgium, maybe the United States depending on whether I have to go and speak at the United Nations, but it is not certain.

Norah O’Donnell (37:19):

You may go to the United Nations?

Translator (37:23):

It’s a possibility. I’m not certain.

Norah O’Donnell (37:26):

What do you want to talk about?

Translator (37:29):

If I go, it is to talk about peace. If the opportunity arises, I would be willing to go.

Norah O’Donnell (37:35):

You talk so much about opening your heart.

Translator (37:41):

A closed heart becomes hardened. It hardens and gets sick. It gets life sick. The heart must be open. It is true that in many people, their selfishness leads them to close up their hearts. But that can be helped by talking, discussing, helping, right? Someone who dies with a closed up heart is a pity. They miss out on a great happiness that of going forward with an open heart.

Norah O’Donnell (38:10):

When you look at the world, what gives you hope?

Translator (38:16):

Everything. You see tragedies, but you also see so many beautiful things. You see heroic mothers, heroic men, men who have hopes and dreams, women who look to the future, eh? That gives me a lot of hope. People want to live. People forge ahead. And people are fundamentally good. We are all fundamentally good. Yes, there are some rogues and sinners, but the heart itself is good.

Norah O’Donnell (38:56):

Do you like when are called the People’s Pope?

Translator (39:00):

The Pope of the People? I’ve always been a pastor. You are a pastor for the people, not for yourself. A pastor has to be for the people.

Norah O’Donnell (39:14):

What do you hope your legacy is?

Translator (39:17):

I never really thought about it. The church is the legacy. The church not only through the Pope, but through you, through every Christian, through everyone. Personally, I get on the bandwagon of the church and its legacy for all.

Norah O’Donnell (39:32):

You mean that the church is for everybody?

Translator (39:38):

Yes, for everybody. And in particular, for the privileged. Do you know who are the privileged in the church? The sinners. We, the sinners, are the privileged ones because Jesus came to call upon us sinners, all of us. The Lord forgives everything. Everything. It is we who get tired of asking for forgiveness.

Norah O’Donnell (40:18):

Millions traveled to see the Pope. And for many, it’s customary to bring a gift. Finally tonight, millions travel to see the Pope. And for many, it’s customary to bring a gift, especially for dignitaries like presidents bringing meaningful presents like seeds from the White House Garden or first edition books written by Martin Luther King Jr. For celebrities like actor Leonardo DiCaprio, not showing up for an audience empty-handed, but presenting a book of Renaissance paintings.

Some gifts are flashy, some are customized. And others have deep personal meaning. We read in Pope Francis new book, a whole chapter about watching Walter Cronkite’s CBS News coverage of the moon landing, “I believe we all understood instinctively that the world would now be different somehow. Progress is fundamental. We have to keep moving, but it must be in harmony with humankind’s ability to manage it.” That section of the memoir inspired our gift to the Holy Father, a vinyl of the 1969 special report.

Your Holiness, I read in your book that when you were growing up in the seminary, that you watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon and it was on CBS translated. This is a record of that moment. This is from then.

Translator (42:07):

Oh, Land on the Moon.

Norah O’Donnell (42:07):

Then of course on the back, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Thank you

Translator (42:16):

Very kind of you. Thank you very much.

Norah O’Donnell (42:18):


Translator (42:18):

Thank you. And pray for me, don’t forget, huh? In favor, not against. Thank you very much.

Norah O’Donnell (42:24):

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Translator (42:27):

Thank you.

Norah O’Donnell (42:29):

Translated from the original Latin, the word pontiff means bridge builder. Francis, the first ever Pope from the Americas built a bridge from the Southern Hemisphere to the northern and from the new world to the old. The son of immigrants, Pope Francis, rose to the top of the Catholic Church as a pastor first, not a scholar. He told us he has no interest in his personal legacy, but much of it will be captured in the Spanish phrase he often repeats, “Todos, todos, todos.” In Pope Francis’s church, everyone is welcome. Thank you for spending this hour with us. For CBS News, I’m Nora O’Donnell in Rome. Goodnight.

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