The Italian Almanac

Pope Francis

It's for You

Pope Francis, the Jesuit cardinal who was elected in March following the resignation of Benedict XVI, is gaining attention for, among other things, a direct communications style via telephone.

A few days after his election he called a Jesuit Order in Rome to talk to the priest heading it, identifying himself as "the Pope" to the flabbergasted switchboard operator. The pontiff also made many other direct phone calls, including ones to the Plaza de Mayo human rights group in Argentina, as well as to one to his Buenos Aires neighborhood newspaper shop to cancel his newspaper subscriptions.

Initially it was chalked up as Pope Francis needing to become accustomed to his elevated role, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the direct form of communication he uses by phoning people directly is more of a personal management style and reflects the wishes of someone who wants to go about out his business directly.

The most recent call was made a few days ago to the Catholic Gregorian University, where two Jesuit professors he knows teach. Reports say that he called the switchboard and asked to be put through to Father Humberto Miguel Yanez Molina, who heads the department of Moral theology, and Father Damian Guillermo Astigueta, a professor at the University and editor of the Periodica De Re Canonica magazine. Both priests are from Argentina, and have known the pontiff since he was simply Jorge Bergoglio and in charge of the Jesuit order in the South American Nation.