Francis: "I didn't want to be pope"

Pope Francis smiles he listens to children reading out their message during an audience with students of Jesuit schools and institutions in Italy and Albania, at the Vatican, June 8, 2013.
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

VATICAN CITY Pope Francis has revealed that he never wanted to be pope and that he's living in the Vatican hotel for his "psychiatric" health.

Francis got very personal Friday as he met with thousands of children from Jesuit schools across Italy and Albania. Francis is the first pope from the Jesuit order, which is known for its missionary zeal.

Answering their questions one by one, Francis told them the decision to become a priest had been difficult for him and that he had suffered "moments of interior darkness" when "you feel dry, without interior joy."

But he said he went ahead because he loved Christ.

One of the most touching moments came when Teresa, a bright-eyed redhead no more than six, asked Francis flat out if he had wanted to be pope.

After joking around, Francis replied: "I didn't want to be pope."