Here is a point I tried to make the other day that Joanna Bogle makes much better:
…of the media trying to stir things up by seeking to stress differences in lifestyle between Popes Benedict and Francis.
Pope Francis has many admirable qualities. But to suggest that he is the first Pope in history to live a simple and austere life is a bit absurd. Pope Benedict lived in a modest flat near the bus depot before he was elected to the Papacy, and walked every day to work with his battered briefcase. People often assumed he was just an ordinary priest, and asked him the way to tourist sites, etc, only discovering afterwards that they had been talking to the famous Cardinal Ratzinger…
John Paul II lived in complete poverty, gave away everything, even a warm coat given to him in the bitter cold, and shoes…the sisters who looked after him as Pope despaired because he wanted them to give away any new clothes and insisted on wearing old ones until they were beyond any further mending. When he died, he left almost no possessions except a photograph of his parents, and his worn old scapular..
On the same theme Amy Welborn posts Surprise! Pope takes walk through Rome!
Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance on the streets of Rome on Wednesday afternoon, April 20, as he visited his old apartment near Vatican City to transfer some belongings to his new home in the apostolic palace.
The newly elected Pope, clothed completely in the distinctive white vestments of the papacy, caught onlookers by surprise when he chose to travel on foot, walking the few hundred yards to the apartment in the Citta Leonina where he had lived for years. When the news spread that the Pontiff was walking through the city, hundreds of people quickly gathered, and he spent some time in front of the apartment building, greeting the people and blessing young children. Italian police and Vatican security officials did their best to control the crowd, preserving some breathing room for the Pontiff.
After a short stay in his old apartment, the Pontiff reappeared, entering a black car that was waiting for him at the entrance of the building. He paused again to wave to the crowd, turning slowly from one direction to another so that he could greet as many as possible. The crowd burst into cheers of “Long live the Pope!” and the chant that has already become familiar: “Benedetto!” Pope Benedict later commented that he was “very moved” as he resumed direct contact with the faithful.