Pope returns to Rome hotel - to pay bill

VATICAN CITY Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:54am EDT

Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina leaves after praying at the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome, March 14, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina leaves after praying at the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome, March 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi

Related Topics

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis returned on Thursday to the Church-run residence where he was staying before becoming pontiff, and insisted on paying the bill, despite now effectively being in charge of the business, the Vatican said.

The morning after his election, Francis asked a driver to take him to the clerics' hotel, the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI, where he had stayed during the run-up to this week's secret electoral conclave.

"He wanted to get his luggage and the bags. He had left everything there," a Vatican spokesman told a news briefing.

"He then stopped in the office, greeted everyone and decided to pay the bill for the room ... because he was concerned about giving a good example of what priests and bishops should do."

The spokesman did not disclose the amount of the bill.

Jorge Bergoglio brought with him a reputation for frugality from his native Argentina. The first pope in 1,300 years born outside Europe, he is the first to take the name of St. Francis of Assisi - a gesture of solidarity with the poor from the new leader of an institution long associated with great wealth which is now battling to retain loyalty among its congregations.

Father Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, who lives in the central Rome boarding house where Bergoglio had stayed, told Reuters he was surprised the new pope had insisted on settling his account: "I don't think he needs to worry about the bill," he said.

"The house is part of the Church, and it's his Church now."

Rytel-Andrianik said Bergoglio had been a regular guest: "When we were eating at the table, you wouldn't realize he was a cardinal unless you already knew. He was just like any priest.

"He never asked for a car although he could have done," he recalled. "He always took the metro or walked."

(Additional reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Alastair Macdonald)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

How to get out of debt

Financial adviser Eric Brotman offers strategies for cutting debt from student loans and elder care -- and how to avoid money woes in the first place.  Video