Pope takes Vatican trappings to a new plain

first_imgVATICAN CITY — Instead of the bus, a chauffeur. No longer a tiny apartment, but a penthouse suite. Not just a new name, but his own personal coat of arms.Such are the perks and trappings of office being thrust upon Pope Francis as he assumes leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion followers. There’s just one catch: He may not want them.Like a man who has won the lottery against his will, the new pontiff has already begun refusing some of the privileges that come with his new job, in keeping with the austere, almost ascetic ways he has pursued up to now as a Jesuit priest.For his unveiling as pope Wednesday to the throng in St. Peter’s Square, he shunned a fur-trimmed red half-cloak and golden cross in favor of plain white vestments and his usual iron cross. To go pray at a church in central Rome on Thursday, he hopped into a regular Vatican sedan, not the papal limousine. He prefers a simple miter to more elaborate, richly decorated headgear.Such actions seem typical of a man celebrated for his humility back in his native Argentina, where, as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he served most of his clerical life. But they are new to the Vatican and to a church often decked in pomp and pageantry, and the new pope may soon be tested in how far he can take them.last_img read more

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