Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was a special guest of Fr. Thomas Rosica at Salt + Light TV. Photo by Evan Boudreau

The door to Francis opens in Toronto

  • June 30, 2015

TORONTO - Like so many reporters around the world Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sundays, prays for an interview with Pope Francis.

That’s partly why the son of CBS 60 Minutes icon Mike Wallace accepted an invitation from Fr. Thomas Rosica to come to the Salt+Light TV studio in Toronto. In addition to being CEO of Salt+Light, Rosica is the English language media attaché for the Holy See Press Office.

“I wanted an interview with the Pope, as does almost every American reporter,” said Wallace, “(and) as I talked to a number of people in the Catholic Church in America they kept saying you have to go see Fr. Rosica.”

While in Toronto, Wallace appeared on Salt+Light’s news program Perspectives and gave an in-depth interview to Rosica for the series Witness. That interview will air July 5 and can also be found at Wallace also spent time sharing his insights from a career in journalism with the station’s producers and reporters.

Wallace is married to a Catholic but is not a Catholic himself. He wants to interview the Pope because, he says, more than ever North Americans care about what the Pope has to say.

“Whether you are a Catholic or not there is something about this Pope that draws you into him,” said  Wallace. “When he came out on the balcony after his election and said pray for me, I think that just filled people’s hearts. I don’t think you can overstate the degree to which he has captured the imagination of the world.”  

Francis is appealing because he represents the possibility of change, Wallace said. The news anchor calls this “a new chapter of the 2,000-year history of this Church.”

“He is sending a very different message,” said Wallace. “It is a paradigm shift. You just feel it (from) the acceptance, the celebration of this man and his values.”

Wallace believes Francis made it clear early in his papacy that he wanted a new type of discourse between the Church and the rest of the world, which previously had been lacking “kindness and trust.” One of the most reported examples of this occurred four months into his papacy when Francis held a 90-minute free-wheeling interview with reporters while flying to Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day.

It is this willingness to speak freely that has so many, including the United States Congress, interested in hearing the Holy Father. Pope Francis will become the first Pope to address Congress when he visits Washington Sept. 24.

“He is going to go before Congress and he is going to talk about, I assume, his critiques of global capitalism and the degree to which there is indifference,” he said. “I love his line about why is it news when the stock market goes up two points but it is not news when people are dying outside.

“Some people are going to think that is a good thing, some people are going to think that is a bad thing.”

Either way both sides will be listening, said Wallace, and that’s what makes Francis so newsworthy.

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