In remarks published in the forthcoming edition of National Geographic, the director of the Holy See Press Office contrasted the styles of Pope Francis and his predecessor.
The magazine reported:
After meeting with a world leader, the former pope would emerge and rattle off an incisive summation, [Father Federico] Lombardi tells me, with palpable wistfulness: “It was incredible. Benedict was so clear. He would say, ‘We have spoken about these things, I agree with these points, I would argue against these other points, the objective of our next meeting will be this’—two minutes and I’m totally clear about what the contents were. With Francis—‘This is a wise man; he has had these interesting experiences.’”
Chuckling somewhat helplessly, Lombardi adds, “Diplomacy for Francis is not so much about strategy but instead, ‘I have met this person, we now have a personal relation, let us now do good for the people and for the Church.’”
“No one knows all of what he’s doing,” Father Lombardi added in reference to the Pope’s schedule. “His personal secretary doesn’t even know. I have to call around: One person knows one part of his schedule, someone else knows another part.”