Alessandro De Carolis – Papal Flight-Maputo
A mishap worth a laugh. The news that the Pope remained stuck in the elevator this past Sunday has made news around the world. That's how he introduced the Angelus – among the most unusual of introductions on record – with the amusing explanation of his 10 minute delay and even more, the explanation of the other 25 minutes he spent patiently waiting for the mechanics to liberate him. Pope Francis thus presented his apology, appearing at the window over St Peter’s Square at 7 minutes past noon.
A drop in voltage, which can happen in any ordinary condominium, had even happened to the Pope. The first to receive a round of applause from those gathered in the Square were the Vatican’s firefighters, who were the ones responsible in providing prompt intervention in one of the most illustrious of happenstances. All the ingredients were there so that the mishap could have a happy ending.
Another tight space
Fast forward to another tight space—an airplane’s cabin. Here Pope Francis found himself in a place which eliminates the usual protocols before veteran journalists following the Vatican who have developed confidence in approaching the head of the Universal Church.
While making the rounds and shaking hands with the journalists on board the plane bound for Mozambique, one of the journalists – Phil Pullella from Reuters, a veteran on these flights to the point that the Pope had defined him as the “second in command” among journalists accredited to the Holy See—unrolled in front of Pope Francis a white, red and yellow ribbon used by firefighters to designate areas where they are working. They exchanged a bit of banter and the spontaneous ripple of laughter was immortalized by dozens of photographs.
A gift and a response
Among the gifts and brief exchanges of words, the Pope also commented in passing on a book published in France by journalist, Nicolas Senèze, who writes for La Croix. Present on the papal flight, the author himself presented his book, entitled How America Wants To Change the Pope, to the Pope who had already read about it beforehand in the newspaper Messaggero. The book offers a critique of a reality, which includes criticisms. Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office, reported that the Pope characterized such criticisms as “always an honour, particularly when they come from knowledgeable thinkers, and in this case from an important nation.”