"I'm certainly not saying we have a perfect situation," said Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian. "We don't have that prerogative that they have over there in Rome, of infallibility. We have impeccability, no peccability, I guess, that's the correct word. Yeah, we make mistakes, but we correct them as we go."
The answer prompted a follow-up question about the new pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit from Argentina who has taken the name Pope Francis. Brown, like everyone else with a smartphone, had learned about the selection about an hour before.
"I'm glad he's a Jesuit," Brown said. "He's from Argentina, so that might give him a broader perspective. He sees the world from the Southern Hemisphere."
However, the third-term governor said, "What the hell do I know? I thought Jesuits were not allowed to consider higher office -- at least they weren't in my day."
Brown was in San Francisco for a meeting of the University of California's governing board, and for a news conference with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown takes a pause outside a meeting in San Francisco on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. David Siders / Sacramento Bee