July 15, 1990 marks an important date in the life of Pope Francis. That’s when he told himself television is “not for me” and promised to the Virgin of Carmen that he would not watch it again. He has kept that promise.
The revelation came during an interview with La Voz Del Pueblo, an Argentine newspaer in which Pope Francis, 78, shared the details of his day-to-day life. In many ways the daily routine is what one would expect of the famously ‘down-to-earth’ pontiff.
One of the great pleasures of everyday life the Pope now forgoes is popping out for a pizza. Before the papal conclave elected him in 2013, Pope Francis used to enjoy the freedom of walking to a local pizzeria for a meal. When the interviewer from La Voz Del Pueblo suggested he could just telephone for a delivery the Pope replied:
“Yes, but it’s not the same. The nice thing is to go to there, to the pizzeria, I’ve always been a keen walker. When I was a cardinal [in Buenos Aires] I used to love walking the streets”.
The Pope said that he only reads one newspaper – the Italian centre-left daily La Repubblica – and only for 10 minutes a morning. The Telegraph reports that this may disappoint some of his colleagues:
“The revelation is unlikely to go down well with the editors of L’Osservatore Romano, the stodgy Vatican newspaper, or Avvenire, an equally sober tome owned by the Italian Bishops Conference.”
Asked whether he can sleep well, with the pressures of being spiritual leader of the global Roman Catholic Church, he replied: “I sleep very deeply.” This means him going to bed to read at about 9pm, then sleeping between 10pm and 4am. He also allows himself a 40 minute siesta in the day.
There is one potential downside to the Pope’s rejection of television – he is unable to follow the fortunes of his favourite soccer team, San Lorenzo from Buenos Aires. The trappings of office provide him the solution, however, as the results are given to him by his personal protection force, the Swiss Guard.
That said, as with so many fans of a certain age the Pope’s nostalgic memories of the game before the professional era are rather different to today’s harsh realities. Speaking of professional players he said:
“The majority are mercenaries. I lived through the time of amateur football, in the ’46 season I was nine and I always went in the stands, never the seats. The worst thing that was said was that the referee was bent, an idiot… not this colorful cascade of insults like now. The atmosphere has changed and it is a shame.”
The interview concluded with the Pope being asked how he would like to be remembered:
“As a good guy. That people will say ‘This was a good guy who tried to do right’.”