Vatican City, Oct 6, 2013 / 05:56 am
While it has drawn much attention, the interview Pope Francis gave to the prominent Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari is not the first of its kind in the history of the Church, but part of a tradition stretching back to "Good Pope John."
The first interview ever given by a Pope to a "secular" newspaper was that John XXIII gave to the prominent Italian journalist Indro Montanelli in 1959, published in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on March 29 of that year.
It was Pope John XXIII himself who made the first move, asking his personal secretary Loris Capovilla to inform Corriere della Sera chief editor Mario Missiroli that he wanted to give an interview to a journalist "outside of the Catholic circle."
Missiroli asked Montanelli, his paper's most important columnist, to conduct the interview, preferring him to the official Vatican analyst Silvio Negro. Montanelli, an agnostic, was unfamiliar with the world of the Church, but nonetheless had a lively conversation with the Pope.