After meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican on Tuesday, the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, told his two million Twitter followers that the pontiff had spoken enthusiastically about his coming visit to the country and had even told him a self-deprecating joke about the Argentines.
President Correa said that the pope, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, was looking forward to returning to Latin America in July, beginning with a stop in Ecuador.
He then revealed that Pope Francis had poked fun at the stereotypical self-love of Argentines. The pope joked that his compatriots were surprised that he had chosen to call himself Francis I, since, “being Argentine, they thought I would call myself Jesus II”
After relaying the joke, Correa was quick to add that he meant no disrespect for the people of Argentina, stressing that the words were the pope’s own.
Ecuador’s president also attended a summit meeting at the Vatican on Tuesday on the environment, along with Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations. The meeting was part of a campaign by the pope to press world leaders to take action to combat climate change.
The Buenos Aires media recalled that the pope had also joked about the supposed vanity of the Argentines in an interview last month with a Mexican television journalist.
On that occasion, after observing that Argentines are “not humble,” he asked the reporter, “Do you know how an Argentine kills himself?” When she said no, the pope replied, “He climbs up on his ego, and then throws himself down!”