Pope Francis’ informal style got the better of him when he telephoned a Vatican receptionist directly and was told: ‘And I’m Napoleon.’
The new pope, according to Croatian religious website Bitno.net, had announced himself when he called a Jesuit residence in Rome on Friday and got through to the switchboard.
He had been trying to contact Adolfo Nicolas, the superior general of the Pope’s old Jesuit order.
But the baffled receptionist – identified only as Andreas – thought someone was playing a trick on him and quipped back: ‘Oh yes? And I’m Napoleon.’
His holiness eventually got through, after managing to convince the receptionist he was genuine saying: ‘I really am Pope Francis.’
One Vatican expert explained: ‘You can’t really blame the poor man. No other pope would have picked up a telephone to make their own calls. An official usually calls a secretary who places the call.
‘The receptionist is extremely distraught but I think the new pope has a good sense of humour and will laugh it off,’ they added.