Pope wants to stay in simple residence for now

Instead of the regal papal apartment in the Vatican, Pope Francis is "experimenting" with living in a simple hotel suite among other clergy.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis wants to stay for the time being in a simple Vatican residence instead of moving into the spacious and regal papal apartments, the Vatican said Tuesday.

The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina is still living in the Domus Santa Martha, a modern hotel-style residence inside Vatican City where he stayed during the conclave that elected him March 13.

Although the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace — which consist of more than a dozen rooms as well as quarters for staff and a terrace — are available, he shows no desire to move in any time soon, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

In the past few days Francis has moved out of a single room in the residence, which has some 130 rooms, into a suite so he could have more space to work and to receive people, Lombardi said.

Pope prefers simple apartment: The study of the suite at the Vatican's Santa Marta hotel where Pope Francis prefers to stay instead of the regal papal apartment. IMAGEAP Photo: L'Osservatore Romano, HO, File

Francis has set a more austere tone for the papacy than his predecessor Benedict XVI, who gained a reputation for sumptuous costumes. Lombardi says the new pope enjoys the residence's community atmosphere where he lives alongside other clergy.

The pope celebrates Mass in its chapel every morning and invites Vatican workers and other guests to attend.

"I can't make long-term predictions, but for now it seems he is experimenting with this type of simple cohabitation," Lombardi said.

"It is still a period of getting used to things, of experimentation. Certainly in this phase he has expressed the desire to stay where he is," he said.

Lombardi said the pope will be using the offices in the Apostolic Palace and its grand, frescoed reception rooms to meet heads of state and delegations, and will continue to appear each Sunday to deliver a blessing from the window of the papal apartments overlooking St. Peter's Square.

Reporting by Philip Pullella

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