Pope Francis saw a psychoanalyst every week for six months when he was 42, he has revealed.
The Pope made the disclosure during a series of interviews with French sociologist Dominique Wolton, head of research at CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) in Paris.
The interviews are recorded in a new book, Pope Francis: Politics and Society.
In extracts published by Le Figaro, the Pope said: “I consulted a Jewish psychoanalyst. For six months, I went to her home once a week to clarify a few things.”
Jorge Mario Bergoglio had finished his six-year term as provincial superior of the Argentine Jesuits, and was named the rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel in San Miguel the following year, in 1980.
Pope Francis continued: “She was a doctor and psychoanalyst, and she always knew her place. Then one day, when she was about to die, she called me.”
She didn’t want to receive the sacraments, since she was Jewish, but for a spiritual dialogue. She was a very good person. For six months, she helped me a lot when I was 42.”
The revelation is likely to provoke comment. Although the Vatican never officially condemned psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud’s work faced disapproval from Catholic thinkers at the time. Strikingly, literary critic Frederick C Crews, a professor of English at the University of California, claims in a new work, ‘Freud: The Making of an Illusion’, that Freud was deliberately anti-Christian.