Pope Francis has admitted he never wanted to win the Papal election – and has moved into a Vatican hotel for his ‘psychiatric’ health.

The Pontiff made the confessions at an audience with thousands of children from Jesuit schools across Italy and Albania.

The Irish Examiner reports that the Pope showed his spontaneous side as he cast aside a prepared speech and offered to answer questions from the kids instead.

The reacted enthusiastically as the Pope went on to answer their questions one by one.

And he amazed them when Teresa, a bright-eyed redhead no more than six, asked the Pontiff flat out if he had wanted to be pope.

He joked that only someone who hated himself would ever want to be pope but then he became serious and said: “I didn’t want to be pope.”

The report says Pope Francis told them the decision to become a priest had been difficult and that he had suffered ‘moments of interior darkness’ when ‘you feel dry, without interior joy’.

The pontiff added: “I went ahead because I love Christ.”

Pope Francis was also asked why he had renounced the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace in favor of his spare suite in the Vatican hotel.

He said. “I need to live among people. If I was living alone, isolated, it wouldn’t be good for me. A professor asked me the same question, ‘Why don’t you go and live there (in the Papal apartments)’?

“And I replied, ‘Listen to me professor, it is for psychiatric reasons,'”

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will not holiday at the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolofo, in the hills south of Rome, and will remain in the Santa Marta hotel with a reduced work schedule.

The Pope’s final message to the children was upbeat: “Don’t let anyone rob you of hope,” he said.


Pope Francis - Irish groups join global Catholics to urge Pope to allow female and married priestsPeter Macdiarmid / Getty Images