VATICAN CITY, April 4 (UPI) -- Pope Francis, in a taped conversation with Flemish students Thursday, said his concern for the poor does not make him a communist, but merely is evidence of the teachings of the Gospel.
“I am a believer in God and Jesus Christ. For me, the heart of the Gospel is in the poor. I heard two months ago that someone said, ‘With all this talk of the poor, this pope is a communist.’ No, this is a banner of the Gospel, poverty without ideology. The poor are at the center of Jesus’ gospel,” he told the students in a 30-minute interview posted on the Belgian website deredactie.be.
The pope also mentioned the happiness of living his faith.
“I have a certain inner peace, a happiness that comes with age,” he said. “If I’m afraid of anything, it is only of myself.”
He added he had problems like anyone else but was pleased to live within his Christian commitment.
The Vatican announced Friday the pope ordered distribution of thousands of copies of the New Testament to be distributed at Masses at the Vatican Sunday. The announcement came as the pope prepared for his first meeting with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi and his family Friday.