Pope pauses St Peter's Square audience to take phone call

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Wednesday interrupted his weekly audience with the faithful to take a phone call, keeping people in St Peter's Square waiting for more than a minute.

An aide handed a mobile phone to the pontiff and gestured to a man who was due to give a reading from a podium to wait.

During the interruption, the only sound that could be heard from the Vatican broadcast of the event was that of seagulls flying overhead, as cameras shifted from the pope to the crowd.

The Vatican press office, which normally does not comment on Francis' private conversations, did not respond to questions about the call.

While the 86-year-old pope has been critical of mobile phones in the past and has warned Catholics against becoming addicted to their devices, similar incidents have happened before.

In 2021, on at least two occasions, Francis excused himself to take a call at the end of a general audience, when members of the clergy line up to greet him.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, Editing by Gareth Jones)