Pope Francis told Jesuits working in Congo that he had taken seriously the promise he and all Jesuits make to not seek offices of authority and power in the church and, in fact, he twice declined becoming a bishop.

But, he said, in May 1992 he accepted his appointment as auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, because the nuncio presented him with a letter from the Jesuit superior general saying he could accept.

“When I made that vow, I meant it,” the pope said.

Francis met with Jesuits in Congo and in South Sudan and responded to their questions during his visit to the two countries Jan. 31-Feb. 5. The Jesuit journal La Civiltà Cattolica, which publishes transcripts of Francis’ meetings with Jesuits abroad, released the texts of the Africa meetings Feb. 16. […]

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