Pope Starts First Day by ... Paying Hotel Bill

Even though he now kinda runs the hotel
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2013 11:32 AM CDT
Pope Starts First Day by ... Paying Hotel Bill
A horse-and-carriage goes past the building of the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI hotel, where Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed before entering the conclave and being elected Pope.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Never let it be said that Pope Francis is a deadbeat. He began his first day as pontiff by returning to the hotel where he'd been staying way back when he was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, picking up his own bags, and insisting on paying his bill—even though he now sort of owns the church-run abode, Reuters reports. "He was concerned about giving a good example of what priests and bishops should do," a Vatican spokesman explains.

Priests staying at the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI say anyone could have come to get Francis' bags, and that he needn't have paid. "He wanted to thank the personnel, people who work in this house," one says. "He greeted them one by one, no rush, the whole staff," even using their names. From there, Francis went to the St. Mary Major basilica to pray, slipping in through a side entrance, Fox News reports. "He spoke to us cordially, like a father," one priest there said. Of course these humble gestures were just preludes to the main item on the papal agenda: an inaugural afternoon mass at the Sistine Chapel. (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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