'I had sessions with a psychoanalyst', reveals Pope
Pope Francis has said that when he was younger he had weekly sessions with a psychoanalyst to "clarify some things".
It was not specified what the future pontiff wanted to explore with the professional - who was female and Jewish.
The revelation came in a dozen conversations the Pope had with French sociologist Dominique Wolton, writing a soon-to-be-published book.
An Italian newspaper, quoting from some of the conversations, said Francis went to the analyst's home. The Pope was quoted as saying: "One day, when she was about to die, she called me. Not to receive the sacraments, since she was Jewish, but for a spiritual dialogue.
"She was a good person. For six months she helped me a lot."
Francis was then a Jesuit official in his native Argentina, which was ruled by a military dictatorship.
In the conversations with the author, Pope Francis speaks highly of the positive influence women have had on his life.
"Those whom I have known helped me a lot when I needed to consult with them," he said.
The Pope (80) also speaks of his state of mind now.
What bothers him, he added, are people with "rigid" viewpoints. He singled out "rigid priests, who are afraid to communicate".
"It's a form of fundamentalism. Whenever I run into a rigid person, especially if young, I tell myself that he's sick," he said.
However, Francis adds that, "in reality, they are persons looking for security."
In past remarks, the Pope has indicated he struggled with how to use authority in his first roles of leadership as a Jesuit.
The Catholic Church used to project a sense of mistrust regarding psychoanalysis.
However, this mistrust now seems diminished.
Updated Vatican guidelines for use on seminaries in training future priests describe psychologists as valuable in assessing the psychological health of candidates.