Pope Francis has reportedly personally called an unwed pregnant woman after she wrote to him about her condition. Anna Romano was stunned when her mobile phone rang with an unknown Rome number and the voice on the other end was the Catholic leader.
The 35-year-old shop worker from Arezzo in Tuscany had written to the Pope in July. She has heard that Pope Francis sometimes responds personally to people who write to him, and she was desperate for a counsel.
She discovered she was pregnant by her boyfriend, who, unbeknownst to her, was already married with a child. The father of her unborn baby then demanded that she get an abortion.
“I have never been lucky with men, I married when I was young and then things didn’t work out and I got divorced. I then had a few brief relationships until I met a man who I thought was the man of my dreams,” the Daily Mail posted a portion of her letter to the Pope.
“In June I discovered I was pregnant through him and when I told him, instead of being happy, he told me he was already married, already had a child, and to have an abortion.
“I told him that I would not have an abortion and told him to get out of my life.”
Ms Romano was left “humiliated and betrayed,” and was in a “desperate and anguish state.” She then wrote to Pope Francis because she had no one else to turn to.
“I addressed the letter simply to Pope Francis, the Vatican, and put it in the post. I didn’t send it recorded delivery. I didn’t really expect to get a reply but then out of the blue when I was on holiday I had a phone call from him,” she told the UK paper.
“The number was from Rome, with a 06 dial code, and as soon as he started speaking I recognised the voice as his.”
Pope Francis, who was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Argentina, then assured Ms Romano that someone was worried for her.
“We were only on the phone for a few minutes but my heart was filled with joy, as we spoke I was rubbing my tummy at the same time.”
The 76-year-old Catholic Pontiff assured her that her child was a gift from God, and told her that she had been very brave and strong.
She admitted to the Pope that she feared that no priest would agree to baptise her child because she was a divorcee and a single mother, but Pope Francis told her not to worry because he would be her spiritual father and offered to baptise her child.
“I’m not sure if he will, I feel as if I am dreaming but if he did baptise my baby, it would be something else. That telephone call has changed my life.”
She continued, “I don’t know the sex of the baby, but if the Pope does baptise it and it’s a boy, I have no doubt of his name – Francis.”
The Vatican has no idea if Pope Francis did indeed make the call, but it’s not the first time the modest Pope has reached out to Catholics.
He has called another woman who was raped by an Argentinean policeman in August to tell her she was “not alone.” He also reportedly made a phone call to an Italian teenager for a friendly chat.
“I know nothing of this telephone call but then again we knew nothing of others,” a spokesman from the Vatican told the Daily Mail of the Pope’s phone call with Ms Romano. “The Pope doesn’t tell us when he makes these calls – he just does them and then we find out about them later.”
Not every phone call from the “Pope” is authentic, though. The Vatican denied reports in France on Friday that Pope Francis had called a young gay man to tell him that “Your homosexuality doesn’t matter.”
25-year-old Christophe Trutino has claimed that he wrote to the Pope to explain his difficulties in reconciling his faith with his sexuality. He told La Depeche du Midi that he received a personal call from the Pope himself in August.
“Your homosexuality, it doesn’t matter. One way or another, we are all children of God. This is why we must continue to be good,” the Pontiff reportedly had told Mr Trutino.
However, Father Lombardi, a spokesman from the Vatican, denied the call ever happened to the French paper The Local.
“The only time the Pope has called France was to speak to Cardinal Barbarin. I absolutely deny this information,” he said.
Also read: Waterproof Bible Endorsed By Bear Grylls To Be Issued To New Zealand Defence Force Personnel [Read]