‘The doctrine of papal infallibility is hard to swallow’, admitted Pope Francis, in his first published interview since the smoke turned white above the Sistine Chapel last week. ‘When I was plain old Jorge, back in Buenos Aires, I could argue, long into the night, with my friends – about Catholic doctrine or the outrageous price of replica football shirts. It was exhilarating, it was interesting, it was fun. But now the discussions have stopped. Whatever I say, goes.
‘Since I became Pope, no-one dares to argue with me any more. The Cardinals just nod indulgently and agree with every word I say. It’s infuriating. They don’t say anything to my face, but behind my back they talk. That’s what infallibility really means. Being right all the time gets boring: it’s like being Geoffrey Boycott.’