Bad luck: Pope acknowledges he got caught at record store

ROME (AP) – Pope Francis has long lamented that he couldn’t walk around town without being noticed like he did before he became Pope. But he seems to have retained his sense of humor nonetheless after being filmed on an unannounced visit to a record store in Rome this week.

Francis wrote a note to the Vatican reporter who was in the right place at the right time on Tuesday night when the Pope escaped from the Vatican bless the newly renovated Stereo Sound store near the Pantheon.

Javier Martinez-Brocal, director of the Rome Reports news agency, filmed Francis leaving the store, in footage that went viral and even appeared in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Martinez-Brocal then wrote a note to the Pope, explaining that he was not a paparazzi and regretting that Francis could no longer go unnoticed, but adding that the story provided a much-needed dose of good news for a world awash in tragedies.

“I won’t deny that it was (bad luck) that after taking all the precautions, there was a reporter waiting for someone on the taxi line,” replied Francis. But he added: “You can’t lose your sense of humor.”

Writing in his characteristic little script, Francis then reiterated that what he lacks most about being Pope is not being able to walk around, as he did in Buenos Aires. Former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was known to take public transport in Argentina’s capital, avoiding the private cars that other cardinals usually take to visit parishes. He became Pope in 2013.

Francis admitted that Martinez-Brocal was only doing his job as a journalist when he recorded the event. “Thank you for having made your vocation, even if it put the Pope in difficulty”, he quipped.

The owners of the store then told The Associated Press that Francis arrived unexpectedly at around 7 p.m., after telling them in a previous meeting at the Vatican that he would be coming to visit him. “He walked into the store and it was an incredible encounter. And as he had promised, he blessed the store, ”said store owner Tiziana Esposito.

Co-owner Danilo Genio said Francis was a long-time client who came whenever he was in Rome for Vatican meetings when he was a priest, archbishop and then cardinal in Buenos Aires.

“When he came to Rome to go to the Vatican, he first came here to buy gifts,” he said.

Francis, who grew up listening to opera on the radio and enjoys tango, Mozart and Wagner, didn’t buy anything this time around. But the traders gave him a CD of classical music.

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Paolo Santalucia contributed to this story.

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