Getting to know the Pope

Daniel Burke’s* profile of Pope Francis is just fantastic reporting and writing.
It humanizes a legend through thorough research and Dan’s gift of simple writing that doesn’t get in the way of the story.

The story included this wonderful nugget.

Bergoglio often helped with housework, preparing meals, folding the laundry and changing the soiled sheets of sick and elderly Jesuits.

Spinassi said that Bergoglio also offered more significant help, giving him 9,000 pesos donated by German nuns to buy his house.

Bergoglio gave Spinassi grief, though, when he visited the house and found a pool in the backyard. Spinassi said there had been a mistake: He had only asked for an above-ground pool. But Bergoglio boiled.

“He was very angry at me,” Spinassi said with a hangdog look. “And he was right.”

Spinassi let me see the pool, but only if I promised not to take pictures. He didn’t want the Pope to see them and get angry again.

He believes that Francis doesn’t live in the Apostolic Palace, the traditional papal residence, because Pope John Paul II installed a pool.

If you enjoyed that bit of info, give the whole thing a read. It’s chock full o’ stuff like that.

*I’ve met Dan on a couple of occasions – we have a couple of non-journalism connections that are easy to talk about: our ties to Scranton and our love of baseball – and had the luck to work with his fantastic wife Melissa for a while. They truly are two of the best people in the business — no only because of how diligent and brilliant they are, but because they are genuinely kind, generous and selfless journalists willing to talk about the craft at any moment.

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Getting to know the Pope

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