Pope Francis has expressed concern over the rise of far-right populist movements in the western world and even pushed back against the idolization of his own person as leader of the Catholic faith, in his first interview with a German publication.
“Populism is evil and ends badly, as the last century has shown,” Pope Francis told German weekly Die Zeit, a sister publication of Handelsblatt Global, in an interview published Thursday. “Populism means taking advantage of the people,” he added.
The pope, the leader of more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide, said he rejected the idolization of single individuals, whether politicians or spiritual leaders – including himself.
“We cannot forget that the idolizing of humans is often a subliminal form of aggression,” he said. “When I am idolized, I feel assaulted.”