Francis May Be First Pope in 110 Years to Decline Swank Real-Estate Upgrade

Dashiell Bennett

One of the perks of being named the Bishop of Rome is a sweet apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square, but Pope Francis being Pope Francis, the new pontiff is just fine in his current digs. Even though the final touches have been made on the Apostolic Palace and the new Pope is free to settle into his permanent (and very luxurious) home, the Catholic News Service reports that he still hasn't moved out the guest house he's been staying in since coming to Rome for the papal conclave, and currently has no plans to occupy his official residence.

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Francis is currently living in the St. Martha guest house, a five-story apartment house that was built specifically to hold the College of Cardinals when they come to Rome for papal elections. After being elected Pope on March 13, he did switch to a slightly larger room, but apparently is more comfortable in guest house, which is a lot less fancy, but also less isolated. About half of the guest house's rooms are occupied by permanent residents, who share a common dining room and a small chapel for morning and evening prayers. 

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When he was just Archbishop Bergoglio of Buenos Aries, Francis famously eschewed many of the trapping of the office, like a chauffeured car and fancy residence. Pope or no pope, it seems Francis is continuing that tradition and bolstering his reputation as a truly humble and austere leader. He may change his mind at a later date, but if he sticks by his decision, he'd be first pope in 110 years to not make the Apostolic Palace his home.

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Here's the ABC News tour of the Palace, which everyone thought Francis would inherit:

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