After a journalist reported on Pope Francis’ surprise visit to a record store, the Pope surprised him back — by writing him a letter.
Javier Martínez-Brocal, director of the Rome-based news agency Rome Reports, tweeted a black-and-white photo of the Pope exiting a record store near the Pantheon in Rome. The photo went viral as people wanted to know, “What did he buy?” The journalist also captured video of the encounter.
But while the Pope left the shop with a disc, he came for another purpose: to visit the owner, an old friend of his, and to bless the newly-renovated store.
Following the incident, Martínez-Brocal apologized to the Pope for intruding on the moment.
“I’m sorry that the Pope, who loves freedom, has to stay in his residence, because every move he makes is caught on camera,” Martínez-Brocal says in a Rome Reports video. “I wrote to him to apologize and to say that, on the other hand, a story like this, which can make people smile, is important in a time when we only hear about tragedies.”
To his surprise, the pontiff responded. Pope Francis confirmed that he saw the photo and even thanked Martínez-Brocal for his “noble” post.
Pope Francis revealed that he had attempted to keep his visit secret, joking that, “one cannot deny that it was a ‘terrible fate’ that, after taking all precautions, there was a journalist waiting for someone at the cab stop.”
He continued, “We must not lose our sense of humour,” and thanked the journalist “for fulfilling your vocation, even if it means giving the Pope a hard time.”
On a more serious note, he added that he missed freely roaming city streets.
“What I miss most in this Diocese is not being able to ‘wander the streets,’ as I did in Buenos Aires, walking from one parish to another,” he wrote.
Martínez-Brocal said: “I think the Pope recognizes the importance of a journalist’s job, even if it’s sometimes uncomfortable for him or causes him problems. But he is grateful for this service of honestly recounting events as they happen.”
The Pope did not reveal the genre of music the shopkeepers gifted him with. That part of his visit, it seems, he kept a mystery.
Pope Francis is a music-enthusiast. His music library, curated by the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, houses nearly 2,000 CDs and 19 vinyl records, Catholic News Service reported. The recordings include music from the Pope’s personal collection as well as music the Pope has received as gifts.
Most of the library is classical, but it also includes Édith Piaf, Argentine tango tunes, and a 25-disc collection of Elvis Presley’s Gospel songs.
(Photo: Javier Martinez-Brocal/Rome Reports TV News Agency via Catholic News Agency)
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund