Pope Francis will not live in the papal apartments

He’s going to stay in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a Vatican guesthouse whose name means “St. Martha’s House,” where he’s been living since the start of the conclave. He did move into a two-room suite with a slightly larger living room than the one he’d previously had.

He will use the papal library (under the papal apartments) for formal audiences, and will use the balcony for the Angelus on Sundays and holy days.

I love, love, love the fact that he will be living in community with others, with bishops and priests and lay people, with permanent residents and visitors. Leave it to a religious to choose to live in community!

He’ll keep taking his meals in the common dining room there, as he has since he was elected, and he’s been celebrating daily mass every morning in the main chapel. (There are also four private chapels, on the third and fifth floors; a large meeting room; and a variety of small sitting rooms.)

The Vatican spokesman says “He is experimenting with this type of living arrangement.” He’s the first pope in over a hundred years not to live in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace, which contain “a chapel, an office for the pope and a separate office for his secretaries, the pope’s bedroom, a dining room, kitchen and rooms for two secretaries and for the household staff.”

It strikes me that, even if this experiment doesn’t work out as a permanent living situation for whatever reason, it gives him a beautiful transitional setting as he adjusts from being the bishop of Rio de Janeiro in his native land, to being the bishop of Rome and heir of Peter on the other side of the world. He didn’t come to Rome with a large delegation of Argentines, so he doesn’t really have much familiar company around him. A setting like this gives him an opportunity to mix with and get to know all kinds of people.

What did I pray for before the conclave?

someone who truly loves the people of God; and thus, necessarily, truly knows the people of God, in all our messy, real, varied, prayerful, hopeful, loving struggles to live the gospel in our real and messy lives. And really, I guess that means, someone who sees himself as one of the people of God, one of the faithful, one of the christifideles: before, and more fundamentally, and more importantly, than he sees himself as bishop, cardinal, or pope.

I think my prayer was answered. Deo gratias!

HT and quotes from Catholic News Service.

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3 Responses to Pope Francis will not live in the papal apartments

  1. Pingback: Holy Week Potpourri | Gaudete Theology

  2. Susan Ozmore says:

    I am not Catholic, but I have been interested in learning more about Pope Francis. I also love the fact that he seems to be more connected with ordinary people than perhaps previous Popes have been. (Although, I don’t have any real basis for that assumption.) Plus, I must admit that I was very glad to hear he washed the feet of two women on Maundy Thursday. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the insight.

    • I dunno, I think “used to take the bus to work” is pretty good evidence for “more connected with ordinary people.” πŸ™‚

      I’m also very interested by what a very positive impression Francis is making on non-Catholics. That is not usually considered part of the “job description” of the pope, at least not when ordinary Catholics think about it; but if you think about the church as inherently missional, as the “light to the nations,” and if you think about the pope as the heir of Peter and then think about Peter in the book of Acts, then it seems it actually should be considered part of the job.

      Thanks for the comment!

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