Thursday, July 10, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Report: Pope Francis mingles among Rome's poor in disguise

Just days after Pope Francis revealed to parishioners he used to work as a nightclub bouncer, reports have surfaced claiming he may actually sneak out of Vatican City and mingle with the homeless and hungry poor of Rome.

Francis takes to the streets of Rome at night under the guise of a priest — the regular, non-pontiff kind — and administers to the homeless, according to a report from The Huffington Post.

The outlet quoted "a knowledgeable source in Rome" as saying, "Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women."

The possibility of the pope's incognito nocturnal outings was raised last week during an interview with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski. The Vatican Almoner, tasked with distributing church funds to the poor, told a group of Vatican correspondents Francis encouraged him to be more proactive in taking to the streets to find those in need - and was often eager to accompany him. 

“When I say to him ‘I’m going out into the city this evening,’ there’s the constant risk that he will come with me," Krajewski said, according to The Irish Independent. "That's what he's like – at the beginning [of his papacy] he didn't think of the awkwardness that he might create." When asked directly if the pope ever joined him, Krajewski reportedly smiled and simply said, “Next question, please.”

The possibility isn't as wild as it may seem. When Francis served as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was known to sneak out at night and speak with or buy food for the city's homeless, sitting side-by-side with them on the street to share meals. Krajewski said Francis has urged him to do the same, putting a renewed emphasis on the little-known almoner post that dates back to the 13th century.

Alex Wigglesworth For Philly.com
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