Ten Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know about Pope Francis

by Paul on October 22, 2013

Lowney - FrancisIn no particular order:

10. As a student, he worked as a bouncer in a nightclub.

9.   He loved to tango.

8.   His favorite movie is Babette’s Feast.

7.   He has been accused of never smiling. (Allegedly, this was part of a smear campaign by “liberal” Jesuits.)

6.   Despite having studied the language in Dublin, English is the foreign language he speaks least well.

5.   It will come as no surprise to learn he flew Economy Class to the Conclave that elected him pope.

4.   A report states that his favorite pop song is “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful,” by One Direction. [But why would it be in English when he doesn't speak the language well?]

3.   Harley-Davidson gave him two motorbikes. They’re for Swiss Guard use, but this pope is so informal you can almost imagine him peeling out of the Vatican on one!

2.   When he met the Jesuit Superior General, he told him he’d prefer that they both use the informal “Tu” instead of the formal “Usted” because they are brothers.

1.   Friends in Rome tell me that the pope sometimes sneaks out of the Vatican to visit friends.

[I used the cover of Chris Lowney’s book as an illustration, but most of these facts were gleaned from the internet.]

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Margaret October 22, 2013 at 4:25 am

lol @ learning English in Dublin. I stayed with some people in Cork once. I was there three days, and thought they were speaking Gaelic to one another. After three days I realised that what they were speaking was English. But to be fair, they probably had trouble understanding my NewZild accent as well!


Simon October 22, 2013 at 10:02 am

Cork? Cork? I’ll raise your Cork with a Kerry! A totally incomprehensible accent!


Jim October 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Never been to Ireland, but the Glaswegian accent was practically impenetrable to me when I visited Scotland. But the British Isles are loaded with dense accents.


Simon October 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Jim, Glasgow is a breeze compared to deepest Kerry. Take it from someone who has spent lots of time in both. My mother was a Kerry woman and I lived in Glasgow for too long :-)


Simon October 22, 2013 at 10:00 am

The accusation of not smiling is a bit harsh. He’s always grinning in the pictures I see.


Jean October 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Simon, I agree, it’s hard to imagine! My jaw dropped when Francis said this about his time as Superior, in the Spadaro interview, and it might explain why some thought he never smiled: “My style of government as a Jesuit at the beginning had many faults … I was only 36 years old. That was crazy. I had to deal with difficult situations, and I made my decisions abruptly and by myself … I lived a time of great interior crisis when I was in Cordova” [the whole paragraph is painful to read, and he shared this with us!] And he goes on to say that the Lord allowed him to learn and grow from this.


Vee October 25, 2013 at 7:26 am

Truly a very humble man to have been able to share that with all of us. Jean, do you have the link by any chance? I would love to read the entire interview. Thank you!


claire October 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Babette’s Feast is also my favorite movie :-)


Dolly October 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm

We all have a beginning or a past history before we achieve a “place of honor.” Pope Francis is a delight today, a breath of fresh air, no matter what he did or didn’t do in the past; or what he was like. As he is today, I already love him.
I love and admire pope Francis for who he is, by how he projects God, and that through his actions, I see Jesus come to life in the gospel. I believe that the Holy Spirit is allowing me to behold all these and draw me, in some ways, to put into practice what the pope advocates, and for me to emulate him. And foremost, through this pope, I underatand what humility is in deeds and not in words.


Jean October 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm

No. 1, sneaking out of the Vatican – I’m so happy to hear this! I used to worry that he needed friends to keep up his health, to relax and speak Spanish, and I would look at Italian and Argentinian papers to see if they ever mentioned his social life. Spending all his time in that guesthouse isn’t ideal either, so I’m very happy to hear this. As for the One Direction song, I think that writer was joking! At least I hope he was.


Lynda October 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm

One thing that I would expect that everyone knows is the Pope Francis is God’s gift, not only to the Roman Catholic Church, but to the world at a time when we need someone who is very personable and yet has great integrity and courage and humility.

BTW Paul re #1, you have friends in Rome – hardly surprising because I suspect you have friends all over the world. Blessings.


Denise J October 22, 2013 at 2:20 pm

The more I learn of this man, the more reason I have for faith in the Spirit, hope for the Church and love for him.

(Well, except for the One Direction thing. But since your source says he called it a “a great pop tune with a killer hook, ” I’m going to say this is likely apocrypha — or at least a non-binding private revelation,. :-) )



Camille B October 22, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I luv it!!!


Jim October 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm

As a bouncer, I bet he emanated loving compassion as he threw the troublemakers out on the street.


Rosie Bachand October 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm

maybe you could add “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful,” by One Direction to Music Mondays for those of us who are not quite as “up to date” as the Pope


Rosie Bachand October 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Hummm! it seems that my need to hear the above titled song is not in my best interest. maybe we could figure out a way foe those of us who have NOT heard it to peel off while the rest go about their own stuff.


Jim October 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I had to find it on YouTube to know what the Pope was referring to. It turns out I’ve heard it before (it gets a lot of Top 40 airtime), but it’s really not my thing.


annette October 23, 2013 at 10:30 am

“Sneaks out to visit friends” lol Hooray for Papa.


elizabeth October 25, 2013 at 3:37 am

I am grateful there are moments he looks serious and make me feel safe in times of troubles. He does understand. He also respects and appreciate the attitude and words of Benedict XVI who did not hesitate to acknowledge the big problems of the church: a great fair couple who love God more than their own reputation and prepair the way we have to follow, each of us being sent to respect each sheep of Jesus.


Leo October 25, 2013 at 10:43 am

No 2 inspires me. If John XXIII’s notion of Aggiornamento is ever going to be realised, perhaps now is the time. Francis continues to inspire me the more I get to know him


Ann Smithwick Ferro October 26, 2013 at 5:59 pm

I am enchanted and happy that our Pope is a man of the people. I am often saddened by the numbers of people that I know who have left the church to find another faith community that reflects their human needs. Pope Francis is, at least, someone who has recognized that we are human, striving humans, but human with both strengths and weaknesses. He seems to understand that we have to work with both, rather than condemn one and ignore the other.


Imelda October 28, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Even the first few days you were at the Vatican..you’ve shown the world that this is now the time to be “really like Jesus”..simple and humble..ever loving to the marginalized people–the poor,the sick and the unpopular..We pray for you often..for your work is not that easy but Jesus is always with you…and He promised to be with us till the end of time..God bless,Pope Francis..you’re the best!


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