Pope Francis is known for his informal style. This has charmed the masses, but doesn’t work so well over the phone.
According to a story in the Daily Mail, the pontiff rang a Vatican receptionist directly, which is apparently a papal no-no. The disbelieving man thought the call was a prank, and said, “Oh, yes? And I’m Napoleon.”
Luckily, Francis has the patience of a saint, and he convinced the man he was the real deal.
The pope wanted to be connected with Adolfo Nicolas, the superior general of his old Jesuit order, according to the Mail.
He told the disbeliever, “I really am Pope Francis. Do not worry, Andreas, just connect me with Father General, I would like to thank him for the charming letter.”
The receptionist realized his error, because who else talks like that?
A Vatican expert explained that the pope doesn’t usually make his own calls—that's done through a secretary. But the humble man hailing from Argentina, known for cooking his own food, living in his own apartment and riding the bus to work, has other ideas.
Once selected as pope, Francis notably skipped the papal limo, choosing instead to ride the bus with the cardinals. And on his way to the Mass that established him as head of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope frequently got out of his car to greet the crowds, kiss babies and, in one instance, bless a disabled man.
His humility may serve him well as he addresses a church torn by the sexual abuse of children and rumored Vatican corruption.
His modesty was in full display when, at his first dinner after the election, he told the gathered cardinals, “May God forgive you” for choosing me. The disarming comment, as New York's Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan later described it, “brought the house down.”