MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

The Pope Is On The Phone

with 6 comments

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Last year when Stella Soma answered the phone, he never expected the man at the end of the line. (Stella Soma is the personal assistant to the editor of La Repubblica, Italy’s main center-left newspaper).

Stella: “Who’s speaking?”

Pope Francis: “Papa Francesco.”

The Pope wanted to speak to Eugenio Scalfari, the 90-year-old atheist and founder of the paper.

At first Scalfari thought that it was a joke. But Stella insisted it wasn’t.

He told Scalfari: “No, it’s not a joke, I can’t make the Pope wait, so let me put you through.”

Pope Francis:”Good morning, this is Pope Francis… you asked me for a meeting, and I wanted to do that. Let’s fix a date… Wednesday I can’t . Maybe Monday? Is that OK with you?”

Scalfari: “Any day is fine with me. Monday is fine.”

It wasn’t the first time somebody received a call from Pope Francis. By this time he has made quite a number of personal phone calls. And most of the time the recipients of his telephone calls are ordinary people. That’s why in Italy he’s called the “cold-call Pope.”

After a series of phone calls and private meetings with Pope Francis, Scalfari was impressed. His conclusion: “He is a revolutionary Pope.”

This may be a too generous assessment of Pope Francis.

John Allen, a journalist who has been covering the Vatican for a long time, says: “Pope Francis is not a doctrinal radical. This is not Che Guevara in a cassock.”

Revolutionary or not, Pope Francis is definitely making radical changes in the Catholic Church.

As an astute observer of Pope Benedict’s papacy, he is aware how his predecessor was immobilized by the Vatican’s cumbersome bureaucracy. He also knows the damage done by the many cases of pedophilia among priests. The widespread corruption in the Vatican is certainly uppermost in his mind.

He is beginning to put in place reforms to address these issues. The cardinals who elected him are probably surprised by his moves. They got more than what they bargained for.

It’s no longer business as usual, and the status quo in the Vatican is shaken.

Although Pope Francis admits that he’s not a revolutionary, many Catholics like me are happy with the changes he’s implementing in the Catholic Church. He’s definitely on the right track.


Written by MattAndJojang

October 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm

6 Responses

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  1. When he’s done with the Curia, maybe he could come to the U.S. and spend a little time shaking up our government. Whether the organization is sacred or secular, and a combination of both, the same problems arise. Corruption is corruption, for example, and there’s plenty of it everywhere. One reason certain emerging leaders are so hated by “establishment” politicians is that they don’t want their boat rocked. It wouldn’t hurt if a few got tossed overboard and had to swim for shore!


    October 14, 2014 at 9:32 pm

  2. I agree, Linda. “Whether the organization is sacred or secular, and a combination of both, the same problems arise. Corruption is corruption…”

    Even before Pope Francis became the Pope I knew that there is corruption in the Vatican. But was shocked and saddened after I watched the PBS Frontline documentary The Secrets of the Vatican. It was only then and there that I became aware how rampant the corruption in the Vatican is, and it is rumored that this was main reason why Pope Benedict resigned. He was so overwhelmed that he felt he couldn’t do anything about it.

    Speaking of corruption in government, sad to say, ours in the Philippines is one of the most corrupt in the world. In the 60s, we were one of the most economically prosperous countries in Asia (2nd only to Japan!). But after 20+ years of the Marcos dictatorship we are now one of the poorest countries in Asia — because of corruption. 20+ years of plunder has taken its toll. Even after Marcos was ousted almost 30 years ago nothing much has changed. Corruption is still rampant in the government.

    Would be happy, too, if Pope Francis could come to the Philippines to clean up our government.



    October 15, 2014 at 10:32 am

  3. He may not be a revolutionary, but the Pope seems to be revitalizing the Church is some exciting ways and at least pointing it in a direction that leads to positive change. He’s gathering quite a number of admirers from among us non-Catholics too.


    October 17, 2014 at 7:23 pm

  4. Yes, Bill, these are exciting days for us, Catholics. After decades of being stuck in dogma and ritual, finally we have a Pope who understands what it’s all about — love, mercy, and compassion. Unfortunately, a lot of people, even cardinals and bishops, don’t get it. There are conservative factions in the Catholic Church who are fighting against the reforms that Pope Francis is putting into place.

    For instance, these past weeks there is a gathering of cardinals and bishops in the Vatican spearheaded by the Pope himself, whose purpose is to be more welcoming to LGBT’s and those who have “irregular marriages” (couples who were not married in church). There is strident opposition coming from certain cardinals about this initiative.

    Glad to know, too, that Pope Francis is inspiring non-Catholics. He’s indeed an inspiration to all of us. Really happy that we have a spiritual leader like him…



    October 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

  5. Just wondered if you guys have seen an Anthony Quinn film – “The shoes of the fisherman.” A bit dated in style (60’s and Cold War) But I think you might like it.



    October 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

  6. I’ve seen the movie, Senan. I’ve forgotten the details, though. If I’m not mistaken Pope Kiril, played by Anthony Quinn, at the end of the movie (sorry, for the spoiler), sells all the property of the Catholic Church to help the people of China, who were suffering from famine! An act that I think Pope Francis is capable of doing if he was placed on the same situation…



    October 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm

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