One year ago today, white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel, signaling the election of Pope Francis.
"Habemus papam" — "We have a pope." And humble, amiable Jorge Mario Bergoglio made his bow as leader of the Roman Catholic Church. He has become a wildly popular pope, likened to a spiritual rock star.
Pope Francis doesn't like that at all.
Last week, he gave an interview to Corriere della Sera in which he said likening the pope to a "Superman ... seems offensive to me. The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone. A normal person."
Some would argue over his definition of "normal." Stories of the pope have piled up: At his first appearance, he wore a white papal cassock rather than the traditional scarlet, ermine-trimmed mozzetta. He reportedly said, "I prefer not to."
He lives in the Vatican guest house instead of the papal palace. He's known for slipping out of the Vatican at night in order to feed the homeless. He likes to dive into crowds when he goes visiting. He speaks off the cuff. When a little boy wandered on stage during a papal appearance, he didn't blink an eye.
He chose as his personal car a 1984 Renault with plenty of miles.
Yet Pope Francis in his recent interview stressed how human he was. An anecdote helped spell it out.
He is asked, "Have you ever been in love?"
"In the seminary, a girl made me lose my head for a week."
The interviewer asks: "And how did it end, if I’m not indiscreet?"
The pope answers, with a "big smile": "They were things of youth. I spoke with my confessor."
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