I was surprised when I hit Rome that waiting for me at my hostel was a message from Pope Francis that simply read.
“Ciao Chris, Heard you were in Rome for a night and wondered if you could spare me some time?”
I’m not entirely sure how the Pope found out about me coming to Rome, maybe he saw my tweet or maybe he just knows because he is that well connected to God. As they say the lord move in mysterious ways and who am I to refuse an invitation from his holiness. I got the hostel to contact the number he had left to arrange to meet him in a few hours, I wanted to walk around the city a bit first but could not turn down such an invitation, plus a potential free tour of the Vatican.
About 16:00 I turn up at the Vatican, drop my name at the gate and was then escorted though to see him. I have to say the Vatican is very pretty indeed but I’m not sure if I would want to take residence there. To me it feels a bit overly grand like the church have something to prove that they can afford this sort of property in a city like Rome. But then that is probably not the choice of Pope Francis, he has to go along with the system which is no doubt set by a higher power. I know enough about the papal system to know then when you meet him that you are supposed to kneel and kiss his ring or something like that. I was a bit weary about dealing with these social norms but I started to go along with it and Francis insisted that it was not necessary.
It turns out he is a big fan of mine, he loves how analyse religion and pay my relevant respects to them without the need for any actual faith. Of course I had to set him right a little here, I do have some sort of faith and corrected on my stance on spreading good karma throughout my life, to be conscious of the decisions I make and so on.
He asked me how I thought he was doing as Pope which I thought was odd but I was only to happy to give him an opinion. Now I had to admit to him that I don’t follow his every move but have seen some of the headlines about him trying to expose sexual abuse within the church as well as his standpoint on gay rights and the standing of women within the church. I was only too happy to tell him that the points that he has tried to make so far is great and I understand that the church moves a bit like molasses and that he should not let this discourage him from moving forward on this. In fact he should be even stronger at pushing this through, we understand that people fear change but they really should not because it’s about time the church dragged itself kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
After our little chat with some tea and cake he took me on a guided tour of the Vatican which was really nice of him. Sadly I was not allowed to take my camera with me for security reasons. I did manage to ask him what’s it like sleeping in such a huge bed overnight to which he just laughed and said one word “Starfish”
So yeah Pope Francis (or Frank as he let me call him) was a bit of a laugh, totally different from how I imagined him. He wanted to add me to Facebook but as you well know I don’t actually use Facebook so that was not possible. He was very curious as to why I was not involved with it but sadly I was running out of time (and hungry) so I had to tell him to get in touch via e-mail and I would fill him in on why I don’t use it. In all fairness I hope to chat to him soon.
PS. Some of this material may be fictitious