Pope Francis said he has no problems with Argentine president Mauricio Macri, whom he described as a well born, noble person, revealing that in the past, as mayor and archbishop of Buenos Aires, they had differences but always addressed them in private and positively.
The extract is from a long interview with the pope, in the Vatican, with La Nacion main political analyst Joaquin Morales Sola, and which was published on Sunday.
I have no problems with president Macri. I don't like conflicts,. I´m tired of repeating it, said the pope who did however mention one occasion.
During the six years we lived side by side in Buenos Aires, only on one occasion did we have a difference. It's a very low average. Other problems we addressed in private and resolved privately. There is no explanation for the insistence that I have a conflict with Macri.
Further on Francis names several of Macri's top officials that visited him, including three ministers and foreign secretary Susana Malcorra.
Some are old friends who have asked to meet me and I do so with pleasure, said the pope who then remarked can't see how an electronics engineer has managed to have such a political wit!
He also had kind words for two other Argentine women with growing political future, Buenos Aires province governor Maria Eugenia Vidal and Social Development minister Caroline Stanley: I know about their social sensitivity, and through the Catholic church in Argentina how committed they are with those who suffer and less have.
Morales Sola then asked about another Argentine controversial and fouled mouth character, Hebe de Bonafini, one of the most radical Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and strong critic of the church, but who recently visited him.
It was an act of forgiveness, she asked for forgiveness and I will never deny it. She lost two children, I kneel before such suffering. It does not matter what she said about me, and I know she has said horrible things in the past about me. We talked about forgiveness and she repeated what she always says about the Macri government. What she said was up to her, I only wanted to overcome the situation, admitted Francis.
The pope also cleared confusion about his spokesperson in Argentina. I know there has been confusion, but a couple of months ago the Vatican made it clear: the only spokesperson of the pope is the Vatican office in Argentina.
Finally Francis referred to several controversial issues. One of them referred to a schooling experience sponsored by the Vatican and which received a significant donation from the Argentine government which he ordered not to be accepted and returned immediately. I was keeping my fold out of temptation and I will not accept a single dime from Argentina when they have so many social problems.
Another issue was a meeting with Argentine magistrates that attended a world congress on combating mafia organizations in Rome and allegedly received strong support from the pope. We only spoke socially, since I can´t support or stop supporting when I am not aware of details of the Argentine cases in court.
And when asked about the ultraconservatives in the church, Francis admitted they do their job and I do mine. They say no all the time, I want an open church that helps the injured families. I keep walking, I don't look sideways but I don't chop heads, I repeat I reject conflict.