Pope Francis has invited a formerly homeless street paper seller into the Vatican for an intimate meeting, in which he discussed his determination to make the Catholic Church support the poor.
He even told Dutch street paper vendor Marc, 51, who sells Straatnieuws in Utrecht, a secret:
“When I was little, there weren’t many shops that sold things. What we had was a market, where there was the butcher, the greengrocer, etc. I went with my mother and my grandmother to do the shopping. Once, when I was quite little, about four, someone asked me: ‘What do you want to do when you grow up?’ And I answered: ‘A butcher!'”
The interview has been made available exclusively to international street papers through INSP’s News Service.
The INSP News Service is a unique news agency that provides free content to the 113 members of the street paper network.
The papal interview coincides with the celebrations around the 500th edition of the INSP News Service. For the last decade, INSP has been providing free editorial content to street papers, building their capacity and quality, and boosting vendors’ sales.
“He took me seriously, that was really great. He is such a kind, wise but also humorous man.”
Marc said: “It was so brilliant that he made the time for me and he thanked me for making such a long journey to meet with him. He thought about my questions so calmly. He took me seriously, that was really great. He is such a kind, wise but also humorous man. We had a really good laugh!”
Explaining why he chose to grant this rare interview to street papers, Pope Francis said: “I want a world without poverty. We need to fight for that.”
INSP Chief Executive Maree Aldam added: “We are delighted that Pope Francis has given this exclusive interview, which will feature in street papers around the world. It was also a very exciting opportunity for Straatnieuws vendor Marc to travel to Rome to meet the Pope.
“This feature follows many street paper exclusives with other high profile leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Prince William, as well as prominent cultural figures.
“Around the world, and throughout public life, people recognise the power of the street paper movement. We are delighted that so many important individuals want to be involved with our network.
“As we celebrate our 500th INSP News Feed, exclusive editorial like this demonstrates the power of the INSP network to work together to boost sales for our hard working vendors.”
Street papers will be publishing the interview in the coming weeks.
The interview will be available in street papers on the following dates. (We will add to this as we get more details.)
Straatnieuws: out 6 November
Z!: out 6 November
The Big Issue UK: out 9 November
The Big Issue Australia: out 13 November
Street Roots: out 13 November
Tagessatz: out 26 November
Asphalt: out 27 November
Hinz&Kunzt: out 30 November
Hus Forbi: out 1 December
Street Speech: out 4 December
Scarp de’ tenis: out 5 December