Pope Francis I may have ascended to the papacy after an historic papal resignation and tense vote, but that doesn’t mean he has free reign to sleep wherever he wishes without picking up the tab.
The man most recently known as Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became a big part of history and the highest-ranking of 1.2 billion Catholics yesterday — and as the papal fanfare died down, Pope Francis had his new driver bring him back to the lodging he’d checked into as a Cardinal to square up his hotel bill.
Which in and of itself is kind of interesting, it seems like the Vatican would have some in-house lodging for the potential popes-to-be. But as Vatican Idol crowned its papal successor, crowds cleared the square outside St. Peter’s Basilica and the pealing of the bells died down — and the new Pope took care of his prior to His Eminence business.
Much has been made among Catholics of the appointment of a Jesuit pope, and Pope Francis was known as a high-ranking cardinal to eschew amenities and honor a more modest lifestyle — cooking his own meals, riding the bus, and opting to live in a humble apartment instead of the available Archbishop’s quarters.
So perhaps it wasn’t much of a surprise when the first order of business for the new Pope was to head on back to the Domus Internationalis Paulus VI, described as an “historic Palazzo located in the ancient center of Rome,” where he’d checked in prior to the Congress of Cardinals. (Total cost? $110 a night, far cheaper than some mid-level business chains here in the US.)
It wasn’t just the hotel bill Pope Francis had to deal with — he’d also left his luggage there, and didn’t send someone to go get it for him as he set about the business of Poping. It was rumored he returned in part to not only pay the costs but greet staff, as he was “concerned about giving a good example of what priests and bishops should do.”
Father Pawel Rytel-Andrianik was also staying at the Pope’s hotel, and he said he didn’t imagine Pope Francis “needs to worry about the bill” as “[the] house is part of the Church, and it’s his Church now.”