He is the Pope by day and a caped crusader for the homeless at night. In recent days, there has been speculation that Pope Francis has been quietly leaving the Vatican at night and dressing as a regular priest to go and meet with Rome’s homeless citizens.
During his days as an archbishop in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was known for making regular nighttime visits to the elderly, sick, and poor. He would often be seen sitting on the street and eating with the homeless. When he took the office of pope, he sought out the man in the Vatican. who was responsible for distributing goods and services to the poor.
Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, who leads a group of Catholics in distributing alms to the poor on a regular basis, recently implied to a reporter that Pope Francis has been coming with them on some of their trips..
Pope Francis recently ordered Krajewski to expand the ministry of finding those in need and imploring other Catholics to get involved in it as a hands-on ministry. He says the Pope told him to sell his desk and get out of the Vatican and go looking for the poor.
One source has told reporters that Swiss guards have given confirmation to the matter saying that the Pope has often snuck out at night, dressed in regular priest regalia, to go with others to meet the homeless of the area.
Vatican spokesmen have so far rejected the idea saying that the story was false.
Whether it is true or not, this story has definitely captured the public imagination. The public always loves hearing about when a well-known leader falls under the radar in order to do something for someone one else without the benefit of recognition. Other popes throughout history have attempted similar stunts.
Pope John XXIII, whose reign ended with his death in 1963, was the subject of many anecdotes about him walking out of the Vatican at night, dressed in black priestly attire, to visit the sick.
In 2011, Gary Krupp located documents that indicate that Pope Pius XII would dress in the same attire as a Franciscan Monk and would help smuggle Roman Jews to safety just behind the walls of the Vatican.
The current Pope is no stranger to raising eyebrows. In recent days, he has managed to garner some attention for statements he has made dealing with homosexuality, wealth distribution, and capitalism. He has also become well-known for the pushing of some boundaries by approaching such issues as the church’s sex abuse controversy. He has emerged into the spotlight as an unconventional leader. The media has recently enjoyed telling stories of his younger days and the time that he had worked once as a bouncer at a night club.
Some of his unconventional leadership is said to be bringing about anger from some of the most conservative wings of the Catholic Church. Still, they cannot deny that his actions seem to be affecting the flock overall in a positive fashion.
Italy’s Center for the Study of New Religions recently reported a significant rise in church attendance since the Pope’s installation. If he has been sneaking out of the Vatican to help the homeless, knowledge of that could only broaden his appeal.
By: Rick Hope