Pope Francis Opens Up About Feeling 'Used' by Phony Friends

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Cubans walk under a poster of Pope Francis, which reads 'Welcome to Cuba' in Havana September 14, 2015.Credit: Reuters

Pope Francis has opened up in a radio interview about feeling "used" by phony friends since he became pope.

"I never had so many quote-unquote 'friends' as now. Everyone is the pope's friend," the pontiff said in the interview broadcast Sunday on Milenium, a station in his native Argentina, AFP reports.

"I have felt used by people who presented themselves as my friends and whom I hadn't seen more than once or twice in my life. They have used that to their own benefit. But it's an experience we all go through," he said candidly. Marcelo Gallardo, the journalist who interviewed him, is a friend of Pope Francis, according to AFP.

"Friendship in the utilitarian sense -- let's see what advantage I can gain by getting close to this person and becoming friends - that pains me," AFP cited him as saying. "Friendship is something sacred. The Bible says to have one or two friends."

Francis, who is set to visit the U.S. and Cuba later this month, also slammed man's "abuse of creation."

"We're not friends of creation. Sometimes we treat it like our worst enemy. Think of deforestation, misuse of water, methods of extracting minerals with elements like arsenic and cyanide that end up making people sick," AFP cited him as saying.

He also said fundamentalists seek "to destroy in the name of an idea, not a reality.... They kill, attack, destroy, malign in the name of an ideological god."