VATICAN CITY – In response to journalists questions, the Vatican spokesman explained why Pope Francis doesn’t sing or chant at Mass or speak foreign languages in public.
The spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, recently joked that there was a saying about Jesuits, that a Jesuit “’nec rubricat, nec cantat,’ meaning Jesuits are famed for not being enthusiastic about liturgical song or experts in detailed liturgical rubrics.”
Pope Francis, a fellow Jesuit, may share some of those traits, he said. Father Lombardi said he believes the pope’s lack of singing is due to “a certain hoarseness” or huskiness in his voice. He reads aloud very well and effectively, he said, “but it is not the voice of Pope John Paul II, it’s not the resonant voice of an actor.”
The pope himself gave the explanation a few years ago – hidden away in one line in a book that was recently republished under a new title after his election March 13. Currently unavailable in English, the book, “Pope Francis: Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio” by Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, was originally published in 2010 under the title “El Jesuita” (“The Jesuit”).
“The one language that always caused me big problems was English,” the future pope said, especially its pronunciation, “because I am very tone-deaf.”