Pope Francis is proving time and time again that he is, in fact, the people's pope. The Argentinian Pope is making headlines for calling a teen after he wrote the Pope a letter. Stefano Cabizza, 19, is a student studying information technology in northern Italy, who wrote a letter to the Pope a few weeks back sharing his life and telling the Pope he hopes to find a job after graduating. Who better to seek advice and solace from than the Pope?
In return, the young student got a phone call from the Pope. Not only did the young man get a phone call from the leader of the world's Catholics, but the Pope had to call him back twice, as Stefano did not pick up the first time around. "I couldn't believe it," said Stefano Cabizza. "We laughed and joked for about eight minutes. He called me around five o'clock after finding that I was not at home the first time around. He asked me to pray for him and then he gave me a blessing. It was the most beautiful day of my life."
During the conversation, Pope Francis requested that Stefano Cabizza refer to him as "tu" instead of the formal option, "lei" during their conversation. "He said to me, do you think the Apostles would have used the polite form with Christ? "Would they have called him your excellency? They were friends, just as you and I are now, and with friends I'm accustomed to using 'tu'."
Suffice to say, Stefano Cabizza has described speaking with the Pope as "a fantastic experience" and mentioned that he was touched by the Pope's "humility and his closeness to ordinary Catholics". This sentiment seems to be the consensus around the board, as Pope Francis has been praised for his informal tone when compared to his predecessor, Benedict XVI.
If you think this is the first time the Pope has picked up the phone after earning his new title, think again! After being elected Pope, he personally called the local news kiosk in his home town, Buenos Aires, to cancel his newspaper subscription. The owner, Daniel Del Regno, was so surprised he actually thought it was a prank at first. "I was in shock, I broke down in tears and didn't know what to say," Daniel Del Regno told La Nacion, an Argentine daily. "He thanked me for delivering the paper all this time and sent best wishes to my family."
More recently, Pope Francis announced that he won't judge gay priests in a news conference aboard the papal plane while flying back to Rome from Brazil, where he celebrated World Youth Day. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" said Pope Francis. "There's a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I've never seen it on the Vatican ID card! When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem ... they're our brothers."