The pope is calling

Pope Francis has made quite an impression in his first months on the job. His charming humility has been moving Catholics and non-Catholics alike with one gesture after another.

The crowds Pope Francis has drawn to the Vatican over this holiday season have provided more evidence that this people's pope with the common touch has touched a chord with Catholics.  And now there's been more of that common touch lately.

The pope -- famous for picking up the phone and cold-calling Catholics out of the blue -- has done it again.  This time he called an order of nuns in a convent in Spain to wish them Happy New Year.

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Pope Francis is famous for picking up the phone and cold-calling Catholics out of the blue
CBS News
 But when nobody answered an apparently frustrated pope left a message.

"What are the nuns doing that they can't answer the phone?" the pope asked.

What were the nuns doing so that they missed a call from the boss?  They were praying, they said. Communication with the heavens is the priority, not staffing the switch board.  Apparently the pope had tried to reach them several times and finally did get through later.

Pope Francis, who lives a simple life and talks of tolerance and a church dedicated to the poor, has brought people back.  And now the Vatican has released the numbers to prove it. 


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Pope Francis, who talks of tolerance, has brought people back
CBS News
 

According to the church's count, Pope Francis has more than tripled the attendance at the major papal appearances compared to his predecessor.  More than 6.5 million people came out to see him at church functions since his election last March, the Vatican says.

Not all of them, presumably, expecting a personal phone call. 

  • Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips returned to the CBS News London bureau as a correspondent in 1993. He has covered many major stories since then, including the war in the Balkans, the death of Princess Diana and the weapons inspection conflicts in Iraq.

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