Man apologises after hanging up twice on Pope, thinking it was prank call

Pope Francis in Saint Peter's Square, in the Vatican City, on April 29, 2015. An Italian man hung the phone up on Pope Francis twice thinking he was being pranked, but later apologised to him personally for his error, Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore
Pope Francis in Saint Peter's Square, in the Vatican City, on April 29, 2015. An Italian man hung the phone up on Pope Francis twice thinking he was being pranked, but later apologised to him personally for his error, Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano reported Thursday. -- PHOTO: EPA

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - An Italian man hung the phone up on Pope Francis twice thinking he was being pranked, but later apologised to him personally for his error, Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano reported Thursday.

The pontiff, who often contacts strangers who write to him or whose problems he hears about, called Franco Rabuffi on Monday to comfort him as he was sick.

Rabuffi disconnected the call twice thinking the call was a hoax.

When the Pope rang back a third time, Rabuffi finally took him seriously.

"I was speechless but Francis came to my rescue, saying that what had happened was funny," he told the Vatican newspaper.

Rabuffi, along with his wife, appeared before the Pope during the Vatican's general audience on Wednesday and personally apologised for his mistake.