Thanks to Caller I.D. we screen calls every day from telemarketers and unknown numbers. Usually when an unknown area code or state comes up, it is a sure indicator that you are receiving an unwelcomed call. But what happens when you see “The Vatican” flash across your screen? Do you pick up? Well, while it is uncertain what number comes up when Pope Francis makes a phone call, (one can probably assume it’s a blocked number) we do know that the new pontifex has been making phone calls in recent weeks. These calls are to ordinary citizens who have written to him about tragedies, dilemmas, and questions of faith. This includes a woman from his native Argentina, who was raped by a police officer, as well as a single mother from Italy whose boyfriend had pressured her to have an abortion. Pope Francis has taken a special initiative to reach out to some parishioners whose faith has been shaken and demonstrate his faith and support.
While this certainly continues to show that Francis truly is a pope of the people, some have concerns about his new role as “the cold call pope”. Already there have been instances where people have told newspapers about a phone call they shared with his holiness, that the Vatican says did not take place. This includes a gay Frenchman, who shared with a French newspaper that Pope Francis told him his homosexuality did not matter in a ten-minute call. Vatican spokesman Father Lombardi stated that Pope Francis had in fact not made this particular phone call. In another newspaper, it was reported that a phone call had been made to Syrian President Assad, urging him to comply with U.S and allied demands. Again, Lombardi stated that this phone call never happened. Lombardi shared that while the Pope would continue to make phone calls as he pleased, they are wary that there are some impersonators out there.
So the next time you are to ignore a blocked phone call, make sure there isn’t a chance that you could be getting a call from the Pope. After all, who knows if His Holiness leaves voicemail.