Prank call reveals Pope’s annoyance with Rome mayor

A prank call by an Italian radio station to a Vatican official has given clues as to Pope Francis’s exasperation with the mayor of Rome.

La Zaretta (The Mosquito) made a phone call last week to Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family and a lead organiser of the World Meeting of Families held in the US.

A man from the radio station pretended to be Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

The prankster inquired how things went at the World Meeting of Families in Philadephia, which was attended by Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino.

During his flight back from the US, Pope Francis had been asked about the mayor’s attendance at the event.

Pope Francis lost his usual smile and made it very clear he had not invited the mayor.

“I didn’t do it and I asked the organisers and they didn’t invite him either. He came. He professes to be a Catholic and he came spontaneously,” he said.

Marino has publicly registered some same-sex unions, when Italian law does not recognise them.

In the prank call, Archbishop Paglia was asked how it “really went” in Philadelphia.

“He [Marino] wanted to take advantage of it and this really upset the Number One,” Archbishop Paglia said, in an apparent reference to the Pope.

The fake Renzi responded: “He crashed the party?”

To which Archbishop Paglia replied: “Of course he crashed the party. The mayor is a good person, but no one invited him, certainly not officially . . . The Pope was furious.”

“When Marino was there he insisted to see him [again and again] and this annoyed the Pope tremendously. Probably Marino needed to be forgiven for something . . . Maybe he’s looking for help. But with our guy this doesn’t work.”

He then added: “Undoubtedly this is a break in the relationship.”

Archbishop Paglia added that the mayor looked like a “fool” for wearing his mayoral sash in Philadelphia.

A Vatican spokesman later said that a private conversation does not represent the position of the Holy See.


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