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Healthcare

EXCLUSIVE-Excerpts from Pope Francis's interview with Reuters

VATICAN CITY, July 4 (Reuters) - Here are some excerpts from an exclusive Reuters interview with Pope Francis. It was conducted in Italian on the afternoon of Saturday, July 2, in his Santa Marta residence in the Vatican.

ON HAVING TO CANCEL A TRIP TO AFRICA “I suffered so much for not being able to do this trip, but the doctor told me not to do it because I am not able to do it yet. I will do the one to Canada because the doctor told me, ‘With 20 more days you will recover.’ But (they told me) this trip (to Africa) is a health risk. That’s why I stopped it.” -- “It was a painful thing for me not to be able to do this trip. I hope to be able to do it later.”

ON HIS HEALTH AND THE SPECIFICS OF HIS KNEE PROBLEM

“I am well, I am slowly improving and technically the calcification has already occurred, thanks to all the work done with the laser ... and magnet therapy. And now I have to start moving because there’s a danger of losing muscle tone if one doesn’t move. It’s getting better; it gets better.”

--

“It’s a ligament that became inflamed, and because I walked badly and this walking badly moved a bone, (this caused) a fracture there and that’s the problem.”

ON LAST YEAR’S SURGERY

“Yes, they took out 33 cm of my colon, the sigmoid colon, for diverticulitis. It went well. It took more than six hours of anaesthesia and that’s why I don’t want to have surgery here (on the knee), because anaesthesia leaves traces ....”

“(As to last year’s intestinal operation), it was fundamentally successful, a great success.”

ON RUMOURS THAT CANCER WAS FOUND LAST YEAR

“They didn’t tell me about it (laughter). They didn’t tell me. They explained everything to me well - full stop. No (cancer). That is court gossip. The court spirit is still there in the Vatican. And if you think about it, the Vatican is the last European court of an absolute monarchy.”

ON RESIGNATION RUMOURS BECAUSE OF A SERIES OF AUGUST EVENTS

“All of these coincidences made some think that the same ‘liturgy’ would happen, but it didn’t enter my head; it never entered my mind. For the moment no, really. But when the time comes that I see that I can’t do it (run the Church, because of bad health) I will do it (resign). And that was the great example of Pope Benedict. It was such a very good thing for the Church. He told popes to stop in time. He is one of the greats, Benedict.”

ON WHEN HE MIGHT EVENTUALLY RESIGN FOR HEALTH REASONS

“We don’t know. God will say.”

ON THE U.S. SUPREME COURT ABORTION RULING

“I tell you the truth. I don’t understand it from a technical point of view. I have to study it because I don’t really understand (the details of) the ruling 50 years ago and now I can’t say whether it did right or wrong from a judicial point of view. I respect the decisions.”

“Leaving that aside, let’s go back to the issue of abortion, which is a problem. In this we have to be scientific, see what science tells us today. Science today and any book on embryology, the one our medical students study, tells you that 30 days after conception there is DNA and the laying out already of all the organs ....”

“I ask: ‘Is it licit, is it right, to eliminate a human life to resolve a problem?’ It’s a human life - that’s science. The moral question is whether it is right to take a human life to solve a problem. Indeed, is it right to hire a hit man to solve a problem?”

ON POSSIBLE TRAVEL TO MOSCOW AND UKRAINE

“I would like to go (to Ukraine) and I wanted to go to Moscow first. We exchanged messages about this because I thought that if the president of Russia gave me a tiny window, I would go there to serve the cause of peace .... And now it’s possible, after I come back from Canada; it is possible that I manage to go to Ukraine. The first thing is to go to Russia to try to help in some way, but I would like to go to both capitals.”

--

“(With Russia) there is still that very open dialogue, very cordial, very diplomatic in the positive sense of the word, but for the moment it’s OK; the door is open.”

ON BANNING COMMUNION FOR POLITICIANS BACKING ABORTION RIGHTS

“When the Church loses its pastoral nature, when a bishop loses his pastoral nature, it causes a political problem. That’s all I can say.” (Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

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