Pope Francis met with Slovakian Jesuits during his recent papal visit to the country.

The private meeting took place on the 13th, a transcript of which was published by the Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica. Responding candidly to their questions after being asked how he was feeling, Pope Francis replied: “still alive, even though some wanted me dead.”

“I know there were even meetings among priests who thought the pope was in worse shape than what was being said. They were preparing the conclave. Patience! Thank God I’m well.”

As to whether resigning was ever a possibility during his health crisis, Pope Francis said the thought “didn’t even cross my mind.”

Pope Francis was also asked about his critics, overcoming division, and dealing “with people who look at you with suspicion.” He said he deserves these attacks, not the Church.

“There is, for example, a large Catholic television channel that has no hesitation in continually speaking ill of the pope. I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner, but the Church does not deserve them. They are the work of the devil.”

Pope Francis’ solution? “I just go forward without entering into their world of ideas and fantasies.”

“Yes there are priests even who make nasty comments about me. Sometimes I lose my patience, especially when they make judgments without entering into a real dialogue. You can’t do anything with that. They say I always talk about social issues and that I’m a communist. Yet I wrote an entire apostolic exhortation on holiness, Gaudete et exsultate.”

He also addressed his recent restrictions on the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass. Recalling that some young priests asking to celebrate the TLM shortly after ordination is a “phenomenon that indicates that we are going backward.”

“The temptation to go backward. We are suffering this today in the Church. I go ahead, not because I want to start a revolution. I do what I feel I must do. It takes a lot of patience, prayer and a lot of charity.”

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