Pope joked about fear of being 'robbed' in Vatican - media

BUENOS AIRES Thu Sep 5, 2013 2:27am IST

Pope Francis arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Pope Francis arrives to lead his Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican September 4, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tony Gentile

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - An Argentine archbishop said Pope Francis jokingly told him he chose to live in a simple Vatican residence to avoid getting robbed in the more regal papal palace, the official Catholic news agency quoted the Buenos Aires Church authority as saying.

Mario Poli, who replaced Francis as archbishop of Buenos Aires, has twice met the leader of the Catholic Church since he was picked in March, according to a story posted on the website of the Catholic news agency of Argentina AICA.

"Just to gossip with him a bit we said, 'Aren't you going to live in the papal palace?' and he told us ironically, 'There? So they can rob me? No!'," Poli was quoted as saying in a speech to the faithful on Saturday. The comments were reported by local newspapers on Wednesday.

Poli said the Pope used the Argentine slang term "afanar," which means to steal.

Since his election on March 13, Francis has opted to live in a small suite in a busy guest house instead of the opulent papal apartments where he would be surrounded by the offices of the curia, the Vatican's central administration.

Poli said Francis is enjoying his role as the head of the Church and has traded the sullen "funeral face" he used to wear in Argentina for gracious smiles.

"He smiles at everyone" now, Poli reportedly said. "The Pope is very happy.... He says it's very entertaining being Pope. Yes, there are problems, as in all families, but there are many people helping him."

Francis has surprised many with his unconventional decisions that are widely viewed as a bid to overhaul the troubled Vatican and set a fresh tone in a church beset by scandals.

On Saturday Francis named a veteran diplomat as secretary of state to replace a cardinal who was blamed by many for failing to prevent ethical and financial scandals during the reign of Pope Benedict.

(Reporting by Mitra Taj, Nicolas Misculin, Guido Nejamkis; Writing By Mitra Taj; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

WORLD NEWS

Reuters Showcase

GDP Growth

GDP Growth

India's economic growth revised up by almost 50 pct.  Full Article 

Stake Sale

Stake Sale

Strong demand for Coal India boosts privatisation drive.  Full Article 

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet board approves up to $243 mln share sale plan  Full Article 

India Art Fair

India Art Fair

Art fair turns India's capital into art hub.  Full Article 

Child Trafficking

Child Trafficking

Police find hundreds of child slaves making bangles - media   Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Rahasya" is an ode to Agatha Christie.  Full Article 

England Beat India

England Beat India

England reach final after Taylor-made victory.  Full Article 

Change Of Heart

Change Of Heart

Justin Bieber says dropping 'arrogant' and 'conceited' attitude  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage