By Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis has decided not to move into the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace, but to live in a suite in the Vatican guesthouse where he has been since the beginning of the conclave that elected him, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.
“He is experimenting with this type of living arrangement, which is simple,” but allows him “to live in community with others,” both the permanent residents—priests and bishops who work at the Vatican—as well as guests coming to the Vatican for meetings and conferences, Father Lombardi said March 26.
The spokesman said Pope Francis has moved from the room he drew by lot before the conclave and into a room that has slightly more elegant furnishings and a larger living room where he can receive guests.
The Domus Sanctae Marthae, the official name of the guesthouse, was built in 1996 specifically to house cardinals during a conclave.
Celebrating Mass March 26 with the residents and guests, Pope Francis told them he intended to stay, Father Lombardi said.
Pope Francis has been there since his election March 13, taking his meals in the common dining room downstairs and celebrating a 7 a.m. Mass with Vatican employees in the main chapel of the residence.
He will be the first pope in 110 years not to live in the papal apartments on the third floor of the Apostolic Palace.
In 1903, St. Pius X became the first pope to live in the apartments overlooking St. Peter’s Square. The apartments were completely remodeled by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and have undergone smaller modifications.