T.S. Eliot and the Pope.
Question: Whom would you like to interview?
Peter Gomes: Well this will sound very strange coming from an arch-Protestant, which I am. But I would be intrigued to talk with the Pope. And why would I want to talk with old Red Socks? Because the Pope is a man of vast learning, vast influence, and profound passions. And whether I like him or not, or like everything that he says or not, he has attracted the imagination, as his predecessors have, of millions of people. And there has to be something there that could be of good use. I would like to have an hour off record in a private room with the Pope. I find . . . I think he would be an interesting person. I might turn out terribly disappointed at the end of it. But I’m not so sure. I think I might be greatly enlightened by that. It’s hard to think of anybody else, quite frankly. I can’t think of a single political leader with whom I would want to spend five minutes, with the possible exemption of Nelson Mandela, with whom I spent more than five minutes in this very room. I can’t think of anybody who’s running anything at the moment that would keep me particularly interested in talking with. And the other sort of people that I would want to talk to, alas all day . . . I mean I’d love to talk to T.S. Elliott. I would . . . I think I would find Shakespeare an interesting person with a slightly jaundiced view of the world which I share. I would enjoy that. I think that I would like to . . . I wish I had known Franklin Roosevelt. I regard him as one of the great heroes of the 20th century church. Churchill, another great figure. Alas, I cannot think of anybody else.
Recorded On: June 6, 2007