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Pope offended by his own myth and mystique


VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him "offensive," according to an interview published Wednesday, even as the Vatican itself is marking the anniversary of his election with commemorative stamps and coins and a DVD with never-before-seen footage of the pope.

Francis told Italian daily Corriere della Sera he doesn't appreciate the myth-making that has seen him depicted as a "Superpope" (as an Italian street artist recently painted him) who sneaks out at night to feed the poor (as Italian newspapers have suggested).

On Wednesday, he had to contend with a new bout of celebrity as "My Pope" hit Italian newsstands, a weekly gossip magazine devoted entirely to Francis. It is published by Mondadori, which is owned by ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi's media empire. In addition, at his general audience, someone tried to give him a replica of an Oscar statue that said "Oscar Pope" on it.

"I don't like ideological interpretations, this type of mythology of Pope Francis," the pope told Corriere. "If I'm not mistaken, Sigmund Freud said that in every idealization there's an aggression. Depicting the pope as a sort of Superman, a star, is offensive to me.

"The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person."

Francis marks his anniversary as pope March 13. For the occasion, the Vatican has issued new coins and stamps. The DVD will feature behind-the-scenes footage of the pope leaving the Sistine Chapel just after he was elected and praying in the nearby Paoline Chapel before he went out onto the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica to greet the world with his famous "Buonasera."

In the interview, Francis also said he and Pope Benedict XVI had agreed that the emeritus pontiff wouldn't remain hidden away, as Benedict had said he would spend his retirement, but would participate more in the life of the church. That's in keeping with Francis' belief that the elderly have a wealth of wisdom to offer younger generations.

"The emeritus pope isn't a statue in a museum. He's an institution," Francis said. "We talked about it and we decided together that it would be better if he sees people, gets out and participates in the life of the church."

Benedict recently attended the recent ceremony to formally install 19 new cardinals, the first time he and Francis had appeared together in St. Peter's. He is widely expected to attend the April 27 canonizations of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII.

"Some might have wanted him to retire away in a Benedictine abbey far from the Vatican," Francis said. "I thought about grandparents who with their wisdom and advice give strength to their families and don't deserve to end up in an old folks' home."

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cleds70 March 05 2014 at 10:51 AM

modesty is nice favor is better

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1 reply
cleds70 cleds70 March 05 2014 at 10:52 AM

bless the pope

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1 reply
cleds70 cleds70 March 05 2014 at 11:02 AM

and let my comments only support and not be judgmental for i have neither the right nor wisdom to in any way speak flippantly about him

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michaela.rudde March 05 2014 at 2:02 PM

Dan, It sounds like you may need some therapy regarding the Church.
He is just what we need. He is a fine man, if you take time to read up on him, he IS a great leader. And yes of my GOD. I guess there is one more seat empty on Ash Wednesday. Guess you are not a sinner. Good for you.!!!! What is your take on Buddha? A fat and lazy guy?. We are blessed to have this wonderful Pope. He is bringing the Church together. But it is not your church, god or Pope. So enjoy the next 40 days that you are bashing the Church while we are reflecting how we can be better people.

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acmeme March 05 2014 at 1:14 PM

Do newspapers alaways tell the truth??

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DON DE ANGELUS March 05 2014 at 10:28 AM

I THINK HE IS RIGHT IN WHAT HE SAID . HE IS A NORMAL PERSON WHO HAS FRIENDS AND WAS RIGHT IN ASKING POPE BENEDICT TO COME OUT AND TO CONTINUE TALKING AND SPREADING HIS WISDOM TO THE WORLD . POPE FRANCIS WILL SHARE HIS BEING A POPE AND NOT BE CONCERNED TO SHARE HIS POSITION WITH A FORMER POPE. I AM A GRANDPARENT, BUT THAT IS NOT THE REASON FOR THE ABOVE.

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1 reply
tnjmini DON DE ANGELUS March 05 2014 at 10:50 AM

I have never seen the name DeAngelus spelled with a u.Are you Italian? I ask because I know people with that last name spelled with an i. ts

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1 reply
siebieda tnjmini March 05 2014 at 11:01 AM

Not sure where you live,but many in the Ohio Valley spell it with a "u". I'm not sure that it ,akes any difference.

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nancy March 05 2014 at 10:37 AM

I love him. God bless him.

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V.A.A.B. March 05 2014 at 10:49 AM

HE IS RIGHT AND PEOPLE OF ALL RELIGIONS SHOULD RESPECT HIM, AS MANY OF US RESPECT THEIRS.

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WashingtonDC March 05 2014 at 12:27 PM

I really do like this Guy....

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coffeelover132 March 05 2014 at 10:52 AM

H is right, I love him and his Philosophy of Love and Life. Unfortunately, He is in a very public role. People find him to be loving and kind.

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joniwriter March 05 2014 at 12:15 PM

It is so comforting to finally have a pope of the people. In these times, the world needs a spiritual leader that is more than a figure head. A pope that is human, down-to-earth, compassionate, modest, open-minded and in touch with the concerns and challenges of his followers, as well as those who are suffering from poverty and injustice.

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jocampo10 March 05 2014 at 12:08 PM

If I had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis I would tell him that I'm not at all surprised by all the fuss. It's refreshing for the Pope to be so ordinary and so real. People are excited by his honesty and his down-to-earth approach. I think he makes people feel like he understands them and the problems they are dealing with in their everyday lives. So, yes, there's a lot of fuss. A pope "who laughs, crise, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else" is someone new and someone who is really bringing Jesus and his message to a weary world.

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