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Father mourning his son tells Pope Francis he’s angry at God


Gelsomino Del Guercio - published on 02/14/22

Pope Francis took time to lovingly comfort a father mourning the loss of his son.

On January 20, 2022, Marco Simoncelli, known as “Sic,” would have turned 35 years old. The Italian motorcycle racing champion, who died prematurely in an accident during a race in Malaysia in 2011, came from a Catholic family. In a recent interview with Sky Sport, Marco’s father, Paolo Simonelli, recounted a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, apparently referring to a visit in September of 2018. The frank encounter changed the way he viewed the pope and ended with a hug.

In these photos, Paolo can be seen during the audience at the end of a row of MotoGP representatives.

As he tells it, the brief conversation started off with sincere but painful words. Simoncelli recounts: “’I’m angry with the boss. I’m really angry,’ I even told the pope. When we went to make the visit to Rome with the Italian Federation, I took in hand the crucifix that Bergoglio had around his neck and I told him, ‘I’m really pissed off with this one.’ He said I was right.” 

Marco Simoncelli’s father wasn’t expecting “the pope to be like this, really a good person. We were alone with him for a few minutes and I hugged him. I guarantee that everyone else meanwhile was pulling their hair out. But I didn’t give a damn, I felt drawn to him.” 

The pope returned Paolo’s hug. This meant a lot to Paolo, because his son also loved to hug. “Before leaving, [Pope Francis] called me and gave me another hug. It was nice. Marco was a guy who hugged, and this has stuck with me, I like it a lot.”


Talking about his son, Simoncelli, said, “When Marco hugged you he gave the feeling of a big oak tree, a feeling of strength. You felt that you could trust him. It was a beautiful thing.”

Indeed, Paolo planted an oak tree in his yard in memory of his son. It sounds like he got something of the same feeling from his hug with the Holy Father.

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