“Here there are many ‘masters’ of the pope”

It’s clear to everyone by now that Pope Francis likes to pick up the phone and call old friends. Argentine journalist Jorge Milia was on the receiving end of a recent call from his former teacher, Jorge Bergoglio, and Milia’s report on that conversation makes for fascinating reading. (Hat tip here to my Italian colleague Lucio Brunelli.)

Milia recounts that in their phone conversation, Pope Francis spoke endearingly about Pope Benedict, whom he calls “el viejo” — literally, “the old man,” but a term that carries with it affection and respect.

“Today I was with el viejo, and we talked a lot. It’s a pleasure for me to exchange ideas with him…. You can’t imagine the humility and wisdom of this man,” the pope told me.