conclave hotel
To ensure electors in the papal conclave are sequestered from any outside influence, all voting cardinals will be housed in the Domus Sancta Martha (St. Martha's House), a plain but capable $20 million hotel built just for this purpose by Pope John Paul II in 1996. The conclave's task is to choose a successor to John Paul II. Photo by Rene Shaw.

Pope Francis opts for Vatican guesthouse instead of papal apartment

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Shunning the spacious papal apartment used by his predecessors, Pope Francis has chosen to continue living in the Vatican guesthouse where he has been staying since the beginning of the conclave.

conclave hotel

The Vatican's chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, explained on Tuesday (March 26) that Francis will live “until further notice” in a suite in the Santa Martha Residence, a modern Vatican guesthouse for priests and bishops who work in the Roman Curia or who are visiting the Vatican for meetings and conferences. Photo by Rene Shaw


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The Vatican's chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, explained on Tuesday (March 26) that Francis will live “until further notice” in a suite in the Santa Martha Residence, a modern Vatican guesthouse for priests and bishops who work in the Roman Curia or who are visiting the Vatican for meetings and conferences.

Francis made his intentions clear on Tuesday morning, while celebrating Mass in the residence's chapel for its permanent guests, who occupy about half of the residence's 130 or so rooms.

The pontiff's choice is a consequence of his desire to adopt a “simple” living arrangement that allows him “to live in community” with other priests and bishops, Lombardi explained.

While his predecessor Benedict XVI cherished the privacy of the papal apartment that allowed him to study and play his beloved piano, the Argentine pope has shown a more common touch with people and enjoys the contact with the residence's guests and visitors.

Before resigning, Benedict felt compelled to deny that he ever felt isolated during his years in office.

At Santa Marta, Francis only recently moved into Suite 201, which was prepared for him on the night of his election. Compared to the other suites, it has a larger living room where he can receive guests.

With his move, Francis breaks with more than a century of tradition; popes had been living in the regal apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square since 1903.

The papal apartment is large enough to accommodate offices for the pope and his two private secretaries, a chapel and living quarters for the secretaries and the household staff.

Four consecrated women from the Communion and Liberation movement served in the papal apartment under Benedict.

Lombardi stressed that Francis will continue to use the papal apartment in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace to appear at the window for the Sunday Angelus prayer.

Francis has started using the papal audience rooms one floor below, which include the private library where official audiences with visiting bishops and heads of state are held.

Comments

  1. It’s good that Pope Francis is opting to rid the papacy and its Vatican of some of its monarchical madness. The ways the hierarchy have been living has nothing to do with Jesus of the Gospels. The more Francis dumps the royal trappings, the more genuinely religious/spiritual the church can start to be. Also, go back full speed to all of the declarations of Vatican II that John Paul II and Benedict have destroyed with their “reform of the reform.”

    If papal security is an anxious concern, another first step would be for popes to quit wearing stand-out white–or red. In fact, regular clothing like everyone else would do just fine. That can be extended to all clergy and religious. I don’t recall anything in the New Testament like “By their clothing and other trappings you will know them.” I do recall, “You will recognize them by their behavior.”

    In line with all this, one of the first loud and clear actions Francis should take should be to call off the gestapo investigation of U.S. nuns instigated by Benedict and his Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith henchman, William Levada. Instead of investigating those nuns and taking them over, the Vatican would do well to learn from them, imitate their good works. Most of them and their good work resembles St. Francis!

  2. Let me know when he decides to sell the Vatican to feed the world. Then I’ll be impressed. Taking the smaller mansion instead of the larger mansion doesn’t impress me.

  3. Thank you “gilhcan”: you’ve clearly expressed my thoughts, held for many, many years.
    If the Pope is to truly represent Christ on earth, then he must live up to Christ’s words, “to be a servant …”, to “take the lowest place …”, among many others.
    Get rid of the red & gold accoutrements, and live a simple life, teaching by his humble actions, not by his glitz & glamour.

  4. Christ had no place to rest his head…perhaps ALL the red-cloaked clerics amidsst their comfy lifestyle could reflect on simplicity and charity: GIVE to the poor, SHELTER the homeless, COMFORT the lonely, abandoned…
    Let us mantra PEACE, rm

  5. The Pope’s “more modest living quarters” aren’t even close to what you’d get at a Hampton Inn. A luxury 5 star hotel in NYC…maybe closer. He may only have a 2 room “apartment”, but when you’re the Pope, you have full run of the entire Vatican City and almost every room in it, so don’t be fooled by all the media covering his living modest and frugal, which also applies to him driving a used car. He doesn’t drive it into a normal town like normal people, he drives it around in Vatican City as well..in case he misses the bus and he rides with the Cardinals. What’s so modest or frugal about that? Nothing. There’s MUCH about Francis that most people don’t know about, and in his time being the Pope, how much has he REALLY done to change the church? Women are still stuck in the same place they were a century ago, and gays..forget about it. The church is still as backward as ever, but they’ve got one hell of a P.R. man onboard now!

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