Papal ring: ‘Cold call pope’ lets fingers do the walking

It certainly has a ring to it — the new pontiff has picked up the nickname “cold call Pope” due to his penchant for spontaneously ringing people out of the blue.

Papal ring: ‘Cold call pope’ lets fingers do the walking

Just last week, Pope Francis phoned an Italian woman whose now ex-boyfriend had tried unsuccessfully to persuade her to abort their unborn child.

During the phone call, the Pope even offered to personally baptise the baby when it is born next year, according to an account in Italian newspaper La Stampa.

Last month, an Argentinian woman wrote to the Pope telling him she had been raped by a policeman but Argentinian authorities had attempted to quash her complaint.

A few days later, she picked up the phone to hear the pontiff’s voice on the other end of the line. She had a 30-minute conversation with him.

She told Argentinian television she started crying when he told her: “You are not alone” and to be calm.

Pope Francis has already distinguished himself as a down-to-earth head of the Catholic Church, having rung up his newsagent in Argentina personally to cancel his newspaper subscription when he took on his new role.

His phone calls have caused controversy in the Vatican. Spokesman Federico Lombardi described as “completely unfounded” reports that he rang Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to try to broker peace.

Cardinal Lombardi was also quoted by the Religion News Service as having denied “with certainty” reports that Pope Francis had rung a young man in France who had written to the pontiff to confess his troubles at being a gay Catholic.

However, the down-to- earth nature being displayed by Pope Francis would not be out of character.

In his home city before he became Pope, he was renowned for his refusal to surround himself in luxury during his tenure as archbishop.

He often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals, and regularly visited the slums that surround Argentina’s capital.

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