Childhood sweetheart turned down his marriage proposal, so he became a priest By Tom Leonard The first Latin American Pope may have been a Latin Lover first it emerged last night after a childhood sweetheart claimed she may have driven him into the church. Amalia Damonte, 76, who grew up in the same Flores neighbourhood [...]

Sunday Times 2

Was this the new Pope’s first – and last tango?

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Childhood sweetheart turned down his marriage proposal, so he became a priest

By Tom Leonard

The first Latin American Pope may have been a Latin Lover first it emerged last night after a childhood sweetheart claimed she may have driven him into the church.

Amalia Damonte, who Pope Francis proposed to as a 12-year-old

Amalia Damonte, 76, who grew up in the same Flores neighbourhood of Buenos Aires as Bergoglio said she was shocked when he became Pope.

‘I froze in front of the television. I couldn’t believe that Jorge was the Pope!’ said his old girlfriend, now a white-hair pensioner with spectacles.

It was either 1948 or 1949 when the future Pope, then aged 12, wrote her a letter declaring he would like to marry her.
‘He said that if I didn’t say yes, he would have to become a priest. Luckily for him, I said no!’ said Ms Damonte, who stills lives four doors up from Bergoglio’s childhood home.

‘He had a crush on me, you know. We used to play on the streets here. It was a quiet neighbourhood then, and, well, he was very nice.’

It is quite possible that Ms Damonte wasn’t the only love in his life, despite what the future Pope told her.
In a 2010 interview, he admitted he had a girlfriend with whom he loved to dance the tango – probably not a pastime for a 12-year-old.
He said: ‘She was one of a group of friends with whom I used to go dancing with.

‘Then I discovered my religious vocation’.

Bergoglio decided to take religious orders in 1958 when he was 21 but he wasn’t ordained until 1969.

Daily Mail, London




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