The pope's media audience came only a day after the Vatican sought to damp down reports over his conduct during Argentina's so-called Dirty War, amid accusations that he could have done more to protect two Jesuit priests who were kidnapped.
The Vatican rejected the allegations as defamatory and untrue in a news conference Friday.
"This was never a concrete or credible accusation in his regard. He was questioned by an Argentinian court as someone aware of the situation but never as a defendant. He has, in documented form, denied any accusations," said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman.
"Instead, there have been many declarations demonstrating how much Bergoglio did to protect many persons at the time of the military dictatorship," he said.
Francis will meet with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in a week, the Vatican said Saturday.
The March 23 meeting will take place at the papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, where Benedict has been staying since his historic resignation.
It comes amid concern in some quarters that the presence of a living former pope might lead to a conflict of interests or influence.
The Vatican has said that Benedict will not seek to interfere in the running of the church, but will focus on study and prayer.