Pope Francis apologized on Thursday for giving a gift to a friend of the institution he heads in a private ceremony, saying he was doing so out of a genuine concern for the poor and in order to bring attention to a humanitarian issue.
Francis, who attended the ceremony at the Vatican, was addressing a group of Catholic journalists, asking them to be careful not to give away too much of their newsworthy information.
Francise also said he was sorry if he made his remarks too explicit, but the Pope is not an “apologist” for people who give money to charitable organizations.
“I am very sorry to the institution, because it was a gift that I received, and I would like to take this opportunity to ask the journalists to be mindful of the fact that they do not know their gift and that I am not responsible for that,” Francis said.
The Catholic Church has long struggled to reach the millions of people who do not have access to modern communication, including in developing countries, where there is no television or radio.
It also faces an uphill battle in other ways, such as the fact it does not receive any tax dollars.
The Pope said he did not know the recipient of the gift, but was trying to find out and “make an example of it so that it would be a lesson for others.”
Francis apologized for the gift in a speech that was streamed live on the Vatican’s website, saying that “no one knows who this friend is, who it came from, and how it ended up in my hands.”
The Pope also told the journalists that he has been working for years to bring a greater focus on human dignity in the world.
He said the media has become too “politicized” and that the Church is facing a crisis.
“I think it’s the duty of every Church leader to speak up and speak out, not just when I am on a private visit, but also in a public setting, where we can show that the Pope can be a real human being,” he said.
Francissimo said that he hopes that “every one of you, even those journalists who give you news, will be humble and show a little humility, and will not give away all the information.”
Francis also said that the media is “sick of the cynicism of politics” and is “always talking about how much we don’t have, what we need and what we should do.
We have so many problems and so many needs.”
“What can you do?” he said, in reference to the need for more political participation in the church.
Francistes speech came after he said in a recent interview with Italian news outlet Corriere della Sera that he did give the gift to the same person because “they are my friends and I am in love with them.”