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, which is apparently a papal no-no. When he identified himself, 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 convinced the receptionist he was the real deal.
The Holy See had asked to be connected with Adolfo Nicolas, the superior general of the Pope's old Jesuit order, according to the paper.
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 the pope doesn’t usually make his own calls—that's done through a secretary. But the seemingly humble man hailing from Argentina, known for cooking his own food, living in his own apartment and riding the bus to work, apparently has other ideas.
Once selected as pope, Francis notably skipped the limo, choosing instead to ride the bus with the cardinals. And for the mass that established him as head of the 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: He must lead a Catholic church torn by the sexual abuse of children and rumored Vatican corruption.
In what was seen as his modesty in the post, he told the cardinals at his first dinner after the election, “May god forgive you" for choosing him. The disarming and modest comment, as New York's Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan later described it, “brought the house down.”