Domus Santa Marta

Pope Francis has decided to live in two rooms in the Domus Santa Marta residence, next to St Peter's, instead of the grand papal apartment on the top floor of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, Vatican spokesman Fr Frederico Lombardi confirmed yesterday.

For more than a hundred years,  every pope has occupied the palatial penthouse which has more than a dozen rooms, staff quarters, a terrace and extensive views over the city of Rome. (According to unconfirmed reports circulating around the Rome press, when Pope Francis first saw the apartment,  he said: "you could fit 300 people in here!") 

Archbishop Bergoglio washes a woman's feet

We are in the middle of Holy Week, and tomorrow, Holy Thursday, we celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, remembering that first occasion when the Paschal meal was shared by the Lord with those gathered in the Upper Room.Here in a community meal he showed us his way of giving thanks to the Father - 'eucharist' - and assured us that sharing in this meal was a participation in his life, death, and resurrection - and that it would be the food that would give us strength for our journey of discipleship.

Bare footed
on the rain-swept pavement
of a city street,
wrapped in heavy, worn clothing
to save against some of cloud's tears
he looks to the middle distance
gathering well-worn hands
in a gesture of prayer.

Who he is, where he came from
I do not know.
Maybe Cyrene.
A poor man with less than nothing
whose darkened image
haunts the heart this early Spring

The idea, that for traditionalists, Pope Francis is the worst possible choice, is misguided; things could have been much worse for them. The Church might have been shaped by Jesus of Nazareth, Who wore dirty scruffy clothes and criticised the High Priests for their ostentation, as well as having disciples who were equally socially undesireable. When preaching, He showed a lack of respect for the usual arcane theological language and instead spoke about shepherds and lost sheep or seeds falling on stoney ground, all very intellectually inferior stuff. Ultimately in the company of HIs disciples, He transformed bread and wine into His own Body and Blood for all His followers and did it without a single word of Latin. It would be enough to give any right-thinking traditionalist, apoplexy.

Vatican City, 21 March 2013 (VIS) – On Holy Thursday, 28 March, the Holy Father Francis will celebrate the Chrism Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in the morning and then, at 5:30pm in the afternoon, will go to celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper at the Casal del Marmo youth detention centre instead of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where it had been traditionally held in past years