It seems that every time Pope Francis steps out and does something (anything, really) he completely defies convention and leaves us going “Man, this Pope guy is actually kind of cool.” To wit, he stunned crowds Wednesday when he stepped down from his Popemobile in Vatican City to let a 17-year-old with Down syndrome sit in it instead.
We’ve long understood two things about Pope Francis: One, he really doesn’t care for all of the pomp that goes along with being the pontiff, electing to do normal stuff like signing out of his hotels on his own and staying in a humble flat away from the Holy See’s luxury apartments.
Two, we know that Pope Francis is a huge softie when it comes to the poor, the sick and the mentally challenged. He pays special attention to members of these crowds, owing to his history as a Jesuit priest.
So it makes sense that he would both surrender the Popemobile to someone (a rejection of Pope-y pomp), and that that someone would be a humble 17-year-old boy named Alberto di Tullio, who has Down syndrome (caring for disadvantaged groups).
The boy’s father went a big wet one when Pope Francis acknowledged his son, who was clad in a blue-and-white Argentine football jersey and yellow hat.
“The pope saw him, embraced him. Then Alberto pointed to the car, and so he brought him up!” Celestino di Tullio told The Associated Press.
Maybe Pope Francis really does have a sort of boundless humanity. Maybe he is just an Argentinian football fan. We’ll never know.
[Image via: Casa Rosada]