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Drew ChristiansenMarch 26, 2013
View of bedroom at residence where Pope Francis resides at Vatican.

As Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M., noted earlier today, Pope Francis has decided not to live in the Apostolic Palace but to remain at the Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican Guest House, where he stayed during the conclave and has remained since his election.

“He is experimenting with this type of living arrangement,” explained Fr. Frederico Lombardi, S. J., the Vatican spokesman, “which is simple, to live in community with others.” Others include not only other Vatican officials and staffers, but also men and women attending synods, conferences and meetings at the Vatican.

Of all the symbolic, lifestyle changes, the new pope has made, this may be the most significant, especially for reform of the Roman Curia. For, in the Santa Marta dining hall, in my experience, while visitors mix it up on one-side of the dining hall, on the other Vatican staffers keep to themselves. In fact, many eat silently alone—as if on perpetual retreat. When I visited Santa Marta, I used to wonder to myself, “Are these isolated, private souls, the people we trust to run the church?”

Pope Francis’s presence will, at a minimum, encourage his co-workers in the curia to get to know one another and exchange the ideas they are accustomed to keep to themselves, as they attempt to guard the secrets and privileges of their own offices. It will also allow the pope to meet people on business at the Vatican freely and stimulate a more open exchange of views than would have been possible in the guarded sanctity of the Apostolic Palace. A room at Casa Santa Marta has certainly become the hottest ticket in town.

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Bruce Snowden
11 years 3 months ago
I think it's just wonderful that Pope Francis has simplified where and how Popes should live, rejecting for example the elaborate and spacious Vatican's Apostolic Palace, choosing instead a two room apartment at a Vatican Guest House. This fits in nicely to what the one whose Vicar he is said of himself, "Foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." Maybe the Church from laity bloated by wealth, horizontally to clergy and Bishops living like princes as faithful on sidewalk facing foreclosure for example, and afraid to ask for help hit the dust with wife and children, will begin to look Christian and not just a xerox copy thereof. Please God, let it be so! Religious too, vowed to poverty of life should be careful that "they are not poor in such a way as to want for nothing!" Maybe Chesterton's words may begin to impress as true, "Christianity hasn't failed; it just hasn't been tried." May God bless us all in our attempt to be truly "alter Christus" singularly and collectively! Let's pray for our wonderful Jesuit Pope, Francis.

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