Simple Life, Common Touch Separate Francis from Others
VATICAN CITY (AP) — As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was known for his common touch.
The son of middle-class Italian immigrants denied himself the luxuries that previous cardinals there enjoyed. He lived in a simple apartment, often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals, and regularly visited the slums around Argentina’s capital. And he’s continuing to display that style as Pope Francis, rejecting some of the trappings that come with his new position.
Immediately after his election, according to U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Francis turned away the special sedan that was supposed to take him to the hotel where the cardinals had stayed. Instead, he rode on the bus with other cardinals. He even refused an elevated platform from which he would greet them — wanting to see them instead from their own level.
He kept the simple pectoral cross of his days as bishop. And rather than donning the red cape that Benedict wore when he was presented to the world for the first time in 2005, he chose instead the simple white cassock of the papacy.
This morning, he stopped by a residence owned by the Vatican in downtown Rome to pick up the luggage he had left behind before moving into the Vatican hotel for the conclave. A Vatican spokesman says he paid the bill — “to give a good example.”