REFLECTIONS: Face-to-Face With Pope Francis


Medical anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes provides a personal account of meeting Pope Francis to discuss human trafficking.

First of all, he is an incredibly happy man, a man at peace with himself and with the world. He seems comfortable in his skin. But most of all, he is fearless. Although he still ends most encounters with the petition, “Pray for me,” he is smiling and radiant. In accepting the heavy cargo that is the papacy, with all of its entanglements, intrigues, risks, and dangers, as well as its daily uncertainties, Pope Francis is calm and reassuring. Whatever happens, it will be all right. He needs company and conviviality. He is no longer of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits; he is not walled up in a rectory of aging priests. He is a lucky man, fully in the world, surrounded by people, families, students, visitors from parts known and unknown. He is as if freed from a burden. He can say what he wants, even surprising himself at times.

Publication date: 
January 13, 2015
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article