Pope Francis Abandoned Papal Limousine For Public Bus

The Argentinian Pope eschewed the official papal limousine, which boasts the registration number SCV1, for Stato della Citta del Vaticano, instead hopping on the bus with a group of red-hatted cardinals.
The photo, which is thought to show the group heading from the Vatican to the church of Santa Maria Maggiore on Thursday morning, the day after Francis's election, was taken by a priest, Father Antonio Spadaro.

He posted it on his Facebook page but this morning it was on the front page of La Stampa, an Italian daily.

Pope Francis, 76, the first Jesuit pope and the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years, has brought a remarkably informal style to the papacy in his first two days in office.

He first shunned the papal limousine in favour of a minibus on Wednesday evening, within an hour of being elected by his fellow cardinals in the Sistine Chapel in a surprisingly short conclave that lasted less than two days.

He surprised the 114 elector cardinals by insisting on riding with them back to the Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican hotel where they had all been staying during the conclave.

"And as the last bus pulls up, guess who gets off? It's Pope Francis. I guess he told the driver 'That's OK, I'll just go with the boys,'" said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

After visiting the basilica on Thursday morning, Pope Francis insisted on being driven to the clerical residence where he had stayed before the conclave so that he could collect his luggage, thank the staff, and pay his bill.

At his first homily, in the Sistine Chapel later that day, he spoke not in Latin but in Italian, delivering a lively, unscripted address to the cardinals.
Francis has stunned Vatican officials with his humility and informality, setting a very different tone to his predecessor Benedict XVI, who was much more formal and traditional.

"We are in the first few days of the pontificate, what we call the days of surprise," said Father Tom Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.

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