Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis‘ decisions to forgo many of the trappings of office and to speak up for the marginalized increased his popularity all over the world.
Here some reasons that make him an original character:
1. In 2015 FIAB, the environmental association that promotes the use of the bicycle to improve the safe circulation of transport handed premier membership to Pope Francis who spoke of the need for greater attention to transport in his second encyclical. He used to take the tube and the bus in Buenos Aires and ride the bicycle too.
2. Born Argentinian to Italian migrants who left Italy to escape fascist regime, he is a genuine football lover. He is member of Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro, an Argentinian sports club best known for its football team.
3. He is so unconventional that he made Fiat 500L his vehicle of choice for his trip to the US in September. He chose his personal vehicle, a Ford Focus, just pointing a car that was leaving the Vatican car park ready to be scrapped.
4. He used to cook for his family and his students – he graduated with a chemical technician’s diploma and taught for a while. He particularly loves dulce de leche and alajores, the most well-known Argentinian desserts.
5. Due to a health crisis when he was 21 he suffered from life-threatening pneumonia and had part of a lung excised.
6. The pontiff used to love dancing tango before embracing religious life. Last year thousand of couples performed a Tango in St. Peter’s Square in Rome to celebrate his 78th birthday.
7. He is the first Pope to decline to live in the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace. He stays in the Vatican guesthouse instead where he can share the community life with others.
8. Thanks to his humility and support’s of the world marginased people, Time magazine awarded him The Person of The Year in 2013. He had been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize too.
9. He organised a meeting with his students and Jorge Luis Borges and he also managed the poet to write an introduction to a book of tales.
10. He still remembers some words and saying in Piedmont dialect, the Italian region where his grandparents were from.
11. He is a “nerd” Pope: he has his own Twitter account in nine different languages with over 3 million followers only in Italy and he likes taking selfies with common people. He also declared that ‘The Internet is a gift from God’ which creates a sense of unity of the human family.