Pope says he hasn’t watched TV since 1990 and never surfs web

Pontiff says he is ‘reckless’ about security and would like to be able to walk the streets

Pope Francis: said he had met Lionel Messi twice in the Vatican but had never seen him play, as 25 years ago he had made a promise to the Virgin of Carmine that he would no longer watch television. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Francis: said he had met Lionel Messi twice in the Vatican but had never seen him play, as 25 years ago he had made a promise to the Virgin of Carmine that he would no longer watch television. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

 

He rises at 4am, never surfs the internet, has not watched television since 1990, reads one only newspaper – Italian daily la Repubblica – and the one thing he would really like to do is walk the streets. In an interview with Argentinian newspaper la Voz Del Pueblo published this week, Pope Francis offered further intriguing personal insights into himself and his ministry.

Asked how he would like to be remembered, he said: “As a decent man. I would like to think that people will say: ‘He was a decent person who tried to do some good.’ I don’t have any other expectations.”

In other interviews, the pope has given the impression of feeling something of a prisoner in the Vatican, unable to walk out when the fancy takes him.

In the new interview he reaffirmed when answering a question about the differences between his life before and after his election as pope in March 2013.

“To go out walking the streets. That is what I miss most, the peacefulness of walking the streets or maybe going to a pizzeria to eat a good pizza. [They can be ordered in] but it is not the same thing. The great thing is to go there to eat it . . . When I was cardinal [in Buenos Aires] I loved to walk the streets, take the bus or the metro. The city fascinates me. In my soul I am a citizen,” he said.

With reference to his security, the pope said he was not worried generally and tended to be a bit “reckless”.

He added: “As for attacks on me, I’m in the hands of God. In my prayers I talk to God and I say to him: ‘If it has to happen, then let it happen. I ask only that it is not too painful.’ I am a coward when it comes to physical pain.”

As for his frequently reported enthusiasm for football, the pope had some disappointing news. Asked if he was more a “Messi-style” pope or a “Mascherano-style” one [a reference to the world’s best-known footballer, Lionel Messi, and to his Barcelona team-mate Javier Mascherano], the pope said he did not know because he had never seen them play.

He said he had met Messi twice in the Vatican but had never seen him play, for the good reason that 25 years ago he had made a promise to the Virgin of Carmine that he would no longer watch television.

Television is “not for me”. He said a member of the Swiss Guards in the Vatican kept him informed about San Lorenzo de Almagro, the Buenos Aires team he has always supported.