Pope Francis last watched television in 1990. Back then, “Murphy Brown” and “Golden Girls” dominated the network airwaves — which kind of makes me think he bowed out at a good time. Now, you can’t even find those shows streaming on Netflix.
In an interview published Monday by Argentinian newspaper La Voz del Pueblo, the pontiff said he hasn’t watched television since 1990, owing it to a promise he made on July 15, 1990, to the Virgin Mary. When asked if any particular reason pushed him into such a decision, he simply said: “It’s not for me.”
Very diplomatic. Imagine your show being the one that pushed the future pope into swearing off television for good!
So how does the rest of the pope’s media diet shape up? He only reads one newspaper, Italy’s La Repubblica, and for no more than 10 minutes in the morning. He’s a soccer fan who hasn’t watched games in decades, so a Swiss guard in the Vatican tells him about Buenos Aires’ San Lorenzo scores weekly.
When asked if he surfs the Internet, Pope Francis said no, as Vatican Radio noted.
But Pope Francis isn’t a tech naysayer: He once referred to the Internet as “a gift from God.”
“A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive,” Francis said in 2014. “Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.”
Earlier this year, the pope participated in a Google Hangout. But, he said: “I am old-fashioned when it comes to computers. I’m a dinosaur. I don’t know how to work a computer.”
He also has an active presence on Twitter under @pontifex, with tweets coming from the Vatican in several languages. Pope Benedict XVI first began the official papal account in 2012, with messages sent by aides.