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Pope Frances compliments reporter who spotted him in a record store

A screen grab taken from a video shows Pope Francis walking out of a record shop in Rome, Italy, January 11, 2022. Video taken January 11, 2022. Rome Reports/Handout via REUTERS

Pope Francis complimented the reporter who spotted him visiting old friends who manage a record shop in Rome this week, joking that the news was his “poor luck”.

The news: The visit on Tuesday night was supposed to be kept under wraps, but Javier Martinez-Brocal of the Rome Reports television news agency happened to be in the neighbourhood. He recorded it on his phone and shared it on Twitter, where it quickly went viral.

What they’re saying: Francis, 85, praised Martinez-Brocal on his work and grieved his own misfortune in a letter delivered to him on Thursday.

  • In a letter Martinez-Brocal shared with colleagues on Friday, Francis remarked, “You can’t deny that it was a matter of bad luck… that after taking all the precautions, there was a reporter there at the taxi stop.”
  • “One’s sense of humour should not be lost,” Francis stated. “Thank you for doing your job, even if it caused the Pope some trouble.”
  • “What I miss the most (since becoming Pope) is not being able to wander around the streets like I used to in Buenos Aires, going from one parish to the next,” Francis wrote.
  • Later, the shop owners said they handed the pope a boxed set of classical music CDs, but they wouldn’t say what they gave him.

What happened: Francis arrived at the StereoSound record shop near the ancient Pantheon in a plain white Fiat 500 driven by a Vatican employee, eschewing bulletproof cars and conspicuous police protection. For around 15 minutes, he remained inside.

  • The shop’s owners then revealed that they had made acquaintances with him when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
  • When he was in Rome on Church business, he would stop by their shop to buy classical music LPs and CDs, and he stayed in a nearby villa for visiting priests.

In addition: Francis is known to enjoy Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach, as well as Argentine tango music.

  • The pope’s visit to a Rome store was not his first. He ordered a new set of eyeglasses from a Rome optician in 2015, two years after his election. They were supposed to be delivered to the Vatican, but he insisted on picking them up himself.
  • He also went to a store to get a pair of orthopaedic shoes at one point.

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