Pope’s sister: Francis ‘plenty tough enough’ to lead

Pope Francis, recognized globally as her elder sibling Jorge, is Maria Elena Bergoglio. Maria Elena has become the primary source of information on the new pope, ever since Francis appeared on the balcony, gazing at St. Peter’s Square. They are the only surviving siblings out of five offspring.

She seems to be listening to her famous sibling, who is unpretentious and humble, with a mind that is afraid and uncompletely focused. It also appears that she cut her cloth from the same material.

The suggestion made by critics that Mario Jorge Bergoglio would never betray his father’s memory by cozying up to dictators is clearly pointed out by Elena Maria, who testily suggested that her family emigrated from Italy because her father opposed fascism and her brother had been complicit in Argentina’s military junta. It was never a serious idea for her to get married at the time, as her brother insisted that he was only a young priest, having rejected the idea of love and marriage. However, when stories began to circulate about Francis becoming a priest only because of a rejected young love, Elena Maria insisted that there was never any truth to it.

Throughout the past three weeks, Maria Elena’s unassuming single-level house situated on a secluded street has transformed into an impromptu journalistic pilgrimage site, with individuals incessantly knocking on her door well into the evening and her phone incessantly ringing as early as 5 am starting from March 14 and lasting all the way through Holy Week.

For the record, during a one-hour interview with NCR this morning, she successfully incorporated numerous fresh ideas. However, at this point, one could argue that Maria Elena has already exhausted all her talking points.

  • “Her brother, not her and not him, why? Because she desired his return! She confessed that she always respected Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil because he appeared to support the underprivileged and could potentially become the first Latin American pope. She even admitted to rooting for him as he entered the conclave.”
  • In order to emulate John Paul II, it was Georg’s sibling, not hers, who had the task of expressing admiration for Benedict’s bravery and a sense of relief. However, she mentioned that she would also like to do so – not primarily to compare experiences, but to reach out to Monsignor Georg Ratzinger. She admitted that it had never crossed her mind before I inquired about it.
  • She said that her brother, who is usually shy and reserved, seems to be “better able to express his feelings” in public since he became pope, and she credits this change to the help of the Holy Spirit.
  • When inquired about her brother’s ability to gain control of the Vatican, she mentioned, “In my opinion, he possesses a resilient personality and an unwavering faith in his beliefs that cannot be shaken.” She further expressed that he is more than capable of handling the challenges.
  • Since becoming pope, he hopes to visit Argentina and bring key people he believes in to meet her. He discussed other matters with Elena Maria, his brother, during their two phone conversations and hopes to give her a hug for two minutes.

    Elena Maria finally revealed that while he was in seminary, he had a strong attachment to both a parakeet and a dog, but he never felt he could take care of them because of the demands of his job.

    “Pay attention, at this point, nothing appears to be unachievable.” She provided a response summarizing the astonishment she still experiences regarding the ‘tsunami’ that has completely disrupted her life upon hearing about a children’s book supposedly authored by a feline that formerly belonged to Benedict, and inquired if maybe the canine who attended seminary with Francis would release his own book.

    “I am a homemaker, for the sake of God!” Vintage Bergoglio modesty: with her personal publication, she has many opportunities to reject, she mentioned.

    At Maria Elena’s home in Ituzaingó, the conversation took place, which are extracts from the interview conducted in Spanish, through an interpreter.

    How many interviews have you conducted up until this morning?

    I feel like I have a duty to wear it out, even if it wears me out. However, I believe I shouldn’t cut back because I feel stressed and overly tired, as my doctor told me that I don’t have any specific health problems. I’m just a normal housewife with a normal life, so I shouldn’t cut back on that suggestion from my doctor. It has never stopped, not even at night until 9:00 or 8:00. That’s when people started knocking and the phone started ringing at 5:30 in the morning, every day since he was elected. It’s impossible to count all of them! I have no idea.

    I’m not expecting anything more than that. All I want is to give him a hug for two minutes. I deserve to have him give me two minutes. Wherever he is, I will go to him.

    Do you feel as if you have misplaced a sibling?

    I’m trying to figure out how to share with my new family members, the siblings and brothers, like my brother, and tell them the truth that I’ve gained millions, just like I have gained more sisters and brothers.

    How many times have you communicated with your brother since he assumed the role of pope?

    He wanted to know what I was cooking. It was always like a normal chat that we enjoyed. We talked like brother and sister, and he has been able to call me at other times. It’s impossible for me to explain what I felt at that moment. It was a very emotional conversation, and he was able to call me soon after he was elected.

    Do you still refer to him as “Jorge,” or do you use the names “Francis” or “Holy Father”?

    It’s now Jorge’s turn, but Francis may be someday. I’ll call Jorge then, knowing that he’s still my brother, as long as I know it, Jorge! Jorge,

    When you spoke to him, did he appear to be swamped?

    Although he doesn’t appear anxious or nervous about it, he seems to be very conscious of the responsibility he is carrying now, and he doesn’t seem any different. Francis is still Jorge, and I’m very grateful for that.

    Have you also noticed that? Pope Francis appears to be expressive and enthusiastic, which is surprising considering his reserved and shy demeanor. Many people in Argentina have told me that when he was Cardinal Bergoglio, he seemed rather reserved and shy.

    I must say that I have been very happy to see how well my brother is adjusting to his new role. He seems even closer and more able to express his feelings, which I suppose is thanks to the Holy Spirit helping him. But what makes me even happier is how close he was to the people here in Argentina. He seems wholeheartedly happy. I think it must be the Holy Spirit being with him that makes him seem so content. Finally, when I had a chance to think more about him and watch him, he seemed even more happy. Of course, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it because our house became a chaotic mess with everyone calling him a loony bin as soon as his name was announced. But whenever I saw Jorge, he always seemed like the same person I had always known. It was like seeing him come out on the balcony.

    Do you believe he is content being the Pope?

    I’m uncertain if that is the correct term. Perhaps I can phrase it like this: I believe he is content, but it is a unique form of contentment. It is not the same as when you and I say we are pleased to have him as the pope. I think he is content with the responsibility he has been given, but he is also very aware of how burdensome it is.

    Do you have any plans to go see him in Rome?

    Currently, I do not have any intentions of embarking on a journey. In the absence of his physical proximity, I have grown accustomed to spending very little time in the company of Jorge. In the event that he is unable to join us on a regular basis, what I will long for are our weekly telephone conversations. I will feel a sense of loss if these conversations are no longer possible, as we used to engage in lengthy discussions every week.

    Of course, I’m also hoping that he’ll come and visit this place!

    Is there any advice you have for him when it comes to calling and sharing your thoughts? Perhaps there is only one person who can truly appreciate it in the same way. They have already spoken several times. That’s the way it goes with Benedict XVI, and I appreciate someone else who can understand what you’re going through. Perhaps there is only one person who can truly understand your brother Georg’s Benedict’s journey.

    I have never thought about calling his brother, even though it would be very interesting to have a phone call. My brother, Benedict, might not really know what he is feeling, just like you don’t know what you don’t know.

    If you did receive that phone call, what would you like to inquire of him?

    I apologize for the numerous ways in which Benedict had to engage in dirty work, starting with talking about the bad things in the church, such as cases of abuse and rotten tomatoes. I am also sorry for feeling remorseful for Benedict, as he had to work in various ways because he was intellectually inclined, introverted, and shy. It was almost impossible for him to follow the footsteps of John Paul II, which makes me appreciate Benedict XVI even more. Additionally, I would like to express how grateful I am to Benedict XVI for all the hard work he did. Renouncing power takes a lot of courage, and Benedict XVI is an extremely honest and humble man. I would like to congratulate him for being such a good brother. However, I do not have much to ask for or anything to congratulate him on. It’s not that I have anything against him; it’s just that I don’t have much to say.

    Can you please clarify your statement? Output: Could you kindly elucidate your assertion?

    I have no clue what he’ll actually do, but I know that he’ll do what is necessary.

    Are you glad that Paul John and Benedict are not following your brother? Do you feel like it will make things easier for him?

    I don’t think my brother will be exactly like II Paul John because he was so beloved by people. He had a combination of good traits from both XVI Benedict and II Paul John, making his personality quite unique. Following in his footsteps was an incredibly challenging task for anyone. It’s likely because he had such a deep impact on people’s hearts.

    Were you at your residence when your sibling was chosen?

    Being a Franciscan, all he desired was to be elected as the pope, regardless of the specific individual. Although my son preferred Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer from Brazil, I personally had hoped for a pope from the Franciscan order. We switched on the television in order to discover the identity of the fortunate individual who had been chosen as the pope, upon hearing that the smoke had turned white. I was indeed at home, engaged in household chores.

    You see, I overheard individuals discussing how the newly appointed pontiff would be escorted to the “Chamber of Sorrow” following his election, and I constantly believed that was somewhat absurd. What does the pope have to shed tears over? However, when I comprehended that it was my brother, it became evident to me why he requires that room. There’s an entire plaza teeming with individuals shouting Viva il Papa! Even before they ascertain the identity. It would require an unfeeling disposition not to shed a few tears before exposing oneself to all those enthusiastic individuals clamoring for your attention.

    Why did you have expectations for Scherer?

    I always found his work in pastoral settings to be lacking deep analysis, though it seemed to be based on it. He’s poor at it. I have always liked him.

    Why were you not rooting for your sibling?

    Because I desired him to return! I didn’t desire him to remain there.

    Were you more frightened back in 2005?

    A cardinal emerges as the pope, and whoever enters the conclave is anyone’s guess. It is possible that Bergoglio, a cardinal whom everyone was discussing as a potential successor to Pope Paul II, wouldn’t return because he was genuinely afraid. Then again, he was truly afraid to come back, indeed.

    Were you not afraid this time?

    Afterwards, you will witness that I, he declared, we hanged up when you return, we will soon converse. Once you come back, I will see you and we will have a pleasant trip. While he is leaving for Rome, we have always had the same conversation and he called me the day before he left. Absolutely not, not at all.

    Is your brother sufficiently resilient? Does he possess the fortitude to make the challenging choices that come with the responsibilities of being the pope? There is curiosity regarding his ability to lead, considering the favorable traits of simplicity, humility, and proximity to the people that are associated with the position. This is what many individuals are eager to ascertain.

    Nobody is able to compromise in what he believes in. He also possesses deep convictions in his unbreakable belief and personally, he has a strong character. Absolutely, indeed… Yes, oh.

    Can you provide me with an instance in his life when that resilience was particularly evident?

    In support of the impoverished, in this nation it can be a burden to voice one’s opinions, and honestly, he consistently prioritized the impoverished individuals, regardless of the circumstances. Certain entrepreneurs who desired him to remain silent on the matter, along with certain government entities, created challenges for him in Argentina, both in relation to his preference for the impoverished. If you seek an illustration, his preference for the impoverished is not defined by a single moment, as it is an enduring aspect of his character, truly.

    You know your brother better than anyone else. Is there anything you’ve seen or heard from his as pope that’s surprised you.

    I haven’t been surprised by anything, except of course that he was elected in the first place… Basically, I’m still happy that Jorge is still the same and seems like he’s still offering the same small gestures, like choosing to go to Holy Mass on Thursday and delivering his pastoral messages and teachings in a way that he was taught by example.

    Two centuries later, how do you anticipate that individuals will recall your sibling as the pontiff?

    I think he will also be remembered as a very firm pope, who did what he had to do and who loved especially the poor and the truth, as a humble pope.

    Is there anything you’re anticipating him to accomplish that he hasn’t completed yet?

    No, as I haven’t really contemplated it. It’s not within my jurisdiction to determine what he ought to do.

    Is there someone in Argentina whom you believe he will invite to Rome to assist him?

    However, he will not engage in discussions with everyone beforehand; he will simply take action. He will assemble his team based on his own requirements and his perception of the church’s needs. It is possible that he will proceed in this manner, but if he does, he will refrain from initiating any prior discussions. Instead, he will promptly make a phone call and assert, ‘Arrive here immediately!’

    You mentioned the team your brother has to put together. What kind of people do you think he’ll want on his team?

    Individuals who share his thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

    Can individuals with such characteristics be easily located?

    Many of them, you would discover individuals of high quality among them. However, when we truly begin to search for commendable individuals, we are accustomed to primarily fixating on the negative aspects. Indeed, there exist numerous individuals similar to him.

    (At this stage in the interview, the family cat strolled over.) By the way, does your brother like cats, as Benedict does?

    Honestly, I honestly don’t have any idea. He always knew he could have a pet, but he never knew where he was going to be living, so he never knew if he would have the time to take care of it. It seemed like he never wanted a pet, but I know that when he was in seminary, he was in love with a dog that he had never heard of before.

    Wasn’t he also fond of a parakeet when he was younger?

    He always knew to never be in a position of care, but he loved animals! It probably wasn’t a sort of insult, but he knew it wasn’t a prayer either… He taught himself to say some things. Jorge loved it and they had a parakeet, when he was in the novitiate, yes.

    Pope Benedict’s feline purportedly authored a book for children. Perchance in the future, the canine that attended seminary alongside Pope Francis shall pen a book.

    Hear me out, at this point, nothing appears to be unachievable!