Francis has charmed the masses with his informal style, simplicity and sense of humour – and a handful of strangers have gotten the treatment up close, receiving papal phone calls out of the blue after writing him or suffering some personal tragedy.
After another random phone call from the pope this week, Italy’s leading Corriere della Sera daily offered etiquette tips for the lucky recipients, proposing conversation starters and no-go areas on its front page Friday.
Topping the list: Be ready, especially if the land line rings.
The 76-year-old Francis has a fondness for making calls the old-fashioned way, using land lines and placing the calls himself, often surprising recipients by simply announcing “It’s the pope.”
After his election in March, Francis reportedly called his newspaper stand in Buenos Aires to cancel his daily delivery and his shoemaker to tell him not to bother with papal red leather loafers but to keep making his regular black orthotics. The receptionist at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome thought he got a crank call when Francis phoned two days after being chosen pope looking for the Jesuit superior.
Francis has since called an Italian man whose brother was killed and a Colombian woman who works in Rome to thank her for a book.
If you were cynical you might think he does this to build a good public image. But I don’t think that is the motivation. I think you have a Pope just determined not to get out of touch with ordinary people, and he makes it a priority to talk to people outside the Curia.
It’s too early to say, but I think Pope Francis is already making a real impact on how the Church is viewed globally.Tags: Pope Francis