ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has long lamented that he cannot walk around town unnoticed as he did before becoming pope. But he appears to have retained his sense of humor nonetheless after he was filmed making an unannounced visit to a Rome record store this week.
Francis wrote a note to the Vatican reporter who happened to be in the right place at the right time on Tuesday evening when the pope escaped from the Vatican to bless the newly renovated Stereo Sound store near the Pantheon.
Javier Martinez-Brocal, director of the Rome Reports news agency, filmed Francis leaving the store, in footage that went viral and was even published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
Martinez-Brocal then wrote the pope a note, explaining that he was no paparazzo and regretting that Francis could no longer move unnoticed, but adding that the story provided a much-needed dose of good news for a flooded world. of tragedy.
“I won’t deny that it was (bad luck) that after taking every precaution there was a reporter waiting for someone on the taxi line,” Francis replied. But he added: “You can’t lose your sense of humor.”
Writing in his characteristic small handwriting, Francis went on to reiterate that what he misses most about being pope is no longer being able to walk around, as he did in Buenos Aires. Former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was known to take public transport in the Argentine capital, avoiding the private cars that cardinals usually take to visit parishes. He became pope in 2013.
Francis acknowledged that Martinez-Brocal was only doing his job as a journalist when he recorded the event. “Thank you for making your calling, even if it got the pope in trouble,” he joked.
The traders later told The Associated Press that Francis arrived unannounced around 7 p.m., after he had told them in a previous meeting at the Vatican that he would be coming to visit. “He walked into the store and it was an incredible encounter. And as he had promised, he blessed the store,” said store owner Tiziana Esposito.
Co-owner Danilo Genio said Francis was a longtime customer who came whenever he was in Rome for meetings at the Vatican when he was a priest, archbishop and then cardinal in Buenos Aires.
“When he came to Rome to go to the Vatican, he first came here to buy gifts,” he said.
Francis, who grew up listening to opera on the radio and loves tango, Mozart and Wagner, didn’t buy anything this time around. But the traders gave him a CD of classical music.
Paolo Santalucia contributed to this story.