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Pope Francis recalls seeing female Jewish psychoanalyst in 1970s

04 September 2017

"Those whom I've known helped me a lot when I needed to consult with them", he's quoted as saying by the Italian daily paper La Stampa.

Francis was then a Jesuit official in his native Argentina, which was ruled by a military dictatorship. Not to receive the sacraments, because she was Jewish, but for a spiritual dialogue.

"She was a good person", Francis said.

The interviews are recorded in a new book, Pope Francis: Politics and Society. He is believed to be the first Pope in history to have visited a psychoanalyst - or at least to have admitted to it. I met her in church, that God put her in my life, and I want to propose to her.

The revelation comes only a day after the leader of the Catholic Church held a rare and "extremely positive" meeting with representatives of Israeli, American and European rabbis at the Vatican, in which they thanked the Church for their mid-20th Century decision to try to stymie anti-Semitism within their ranks and reform religious doctrine relating to Jews. But it has recently shown more of an interest in the technique, and says that psychologists can be a useful way of looking at the psychological health of potential priests.

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The Pope (80) also speaks of his state of mind now.

"I feel free", he said. "Nothing makes me afraid".

Pope Francis said yesterday that a full message about the importance of environmental care, from both him and "our dear brother Bartholomew, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople", would be released Friday, according to Vatican Radio. It's a form of fundamentalism. "Whenever I run into a rigid person, especially if young, I tell myself that he's sick", he said.

But in his landmark environment encyclical Laudato si' Pope Francis rejects this argument and instead calls for a "deep communion" with nature where "mystical meaning" can be "found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person's face".

Pope Francis recalls seeing female Jewish psychoanalyst in 1970s