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Pope phones people all the time, says Vatican official

By on Monday, 16 September 2013

Mgr Dario Edoardo Vigano (Photo: CNS)

Mgr Dario Edoardo Vigano (Photo: CNS)

Picking up the telephone and calling people out of the blue is no big deal for Pope Francis, a Vatican official has said.

Mgr Dario Viganò, director of the Vatican Television Centre, said the Pope told him that the many calls the journalists had brought to light are just the tip of the iceberg: “Good thing they don’t know about all the ones I have made!” the Pope reportedly said.

In an interview with Famiglia Cristiana, an Italian Catholic magazine, Mgr Viganò said that during a recent meeting with the Pope, he asked the Pontiff about the media frenzy over reports of papal cold calls.

The monsignor said the Pope looked at him amazed and said: “Tell the journalists that my calls are not news.”

According to Mgr Viganò, the Pope said: “That’s the way I am; I’ve always done this, even in Buenos Aires,” where he served first as auxiliary bishop beginning in 1992 and archbishop from 1998 until his election as Pope in March.

He said the Pope explained how any time he got “a card or a letter from a priest having difficulties, from a family or a prisoner, I would respond”.

The Pope said: “For me, it’s much easier to call, to ask about the problem and suggest a solution, if there is one. Some people I call, others I write to instead,” according to Mgr Viganò.

The monsignor told the magazine he had received several calls from the Pope and not all of them were work-related. “Once he called me at the office to wish me happy birthday.”

The head of the Vatican’s television production centre said the constant stream of papal calls signalled a kind of telephonic pastoral care.

Being able to hear someone’s voice allows the caller to understand the feelings of the person on the other line and get “in tune with” the person’s problems and needs, he said.

Getting a call from the Pope sends a strong signal that God cares, he said.

If the Pope “takes it upon himself to call me, it means I am special to him and above all in God’s heart”, he said.

  • SimonS

    I would suggest that the fact that Francis does not consider the calls newsworthy is precisely why they are percieved to be so – they come across as genuine.

  • Illinidiva

    The fact that this happens frequently is amusing.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    I wish people would stop calling them ‘cold calls’- they aren’t. They are replies to people who have already contacted him. Huge difference.

    Are people trying to say that it would be appropriate to send letters in reply to letters but not to reply by phone?

  • Illinidiva

    I think that I would be hilarious if the Pope did start randomly calling people up.

  • Dr Araminta Warnock

    This chap needs a shave. A Monsignor should look clean at least.

  • acox42

    He may be trying to grow a beard!!

  • acox42

    His genuine humility and love for neighbor is what attracts him to people who may not have a personal relationship with Jesus or a love for the church.

  • Johnny

    So, if he calls people ‘all the time’, what does he do the rest of the time? Oh, wait…

  • capu chin

    I wish everyone including all the media outlets would just leave the Pope alone to carry on his mission. Why hang on his every word starting in the early morning from the sermon at the chapel of St. Martha’s residence> have they (journalists and TV crew nothing else to report on? If so, the Vatican must be a very boring place. Why hang on the pope’s sentences and disect every word. leave the man alone to get on with his spiritual tasks and decrease your oxygen of publicity

  • capu chin

    what a hilarious comment. Yes he might be a cpuchin trying to emulate Cardinal Sean O’Malley. lets all laugh together at that one Don’t divert, sir

  • no wonder I am a capuchin

    Seems like the Pope is very free. He has so many problems to solve and he is calling people up? priorities? or is he also just diverting when he does not know what decisions to take like JP2 in his first 3 years before Cardinal Ratzinger arrived to organise the Papacy.

    This guy seems less cerebral than Benedict. Less high powered preaching than Bendict. And so far all rather superficial and symbolic. I am starting to miss Benedict very much.

    This is a jesuit teaching? We would expect better quality and more in-depth analysis and teaching from a Jesuit. Or are standards falling?

  • acox42

    I did not intend my comment to be hilarious. It was just my observation, but I am delighted that it made your day.

  • acox42

    Judge not lest you be judged! Every one has a “special mission” and Pope Francis has been sent to the church to fix up where we have gone astray and have forgotten why we are here which is to live the way Jesus taught. Also I know of at least one avowed Atheist who greatly admires our simple, humble Jesuit Pope. I pray he will bring her into our church!

  • DundeeU

    Such a shame. Here you get a man of compassion, and all you wanted was an Office Manager.

  • luisantonio

    You would do well to read the lives of different saints. The Catholic Church tends to have individuals with widely varying personal callings and tastes.

  • luisantonio

    …and, yes, I wonder how you can call yourself a capuchin…

  • Shirley Capes

    I’m not surprised in the least that he would call. He is a hands on Pope. I like him want to hear the voices of those I love when I can call them. He is very caring and shows His love for his people in so many ways. May God Bless all that he does.

  • Rob

    Love the pope I have tried to e-mail him but my messages dont seem to go threw if you ever want to talk to me call me im in ottawa names robert corcoran