From the moment Pope Francis, dressed simply in a white cassock, stepped out on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica for the first time and bowed, he signalled his Pontificate would bring some style differences to the Papacy, reports CNS.
Some of the style changes are simply a reflection of his personality, he has explained. Others are meant to be a lesson. But sometimes the two coincide.
Answering questions from students in June, he said the Apostolic Palace, where his predecessors lived 'is not that luxurious', but he decided to live in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a Vatican guesthouse, 'for psychiatric reasons.'
Living alone or in an isolated setting 'would not do me any good,' he said, because he's the kind of person who prefers living in the thick of things, 'among the people'. However, he added that he tries to live as simply as possible, 'to not have many things and to become a bit poorer' like Christ.
Unlike his choice of residence, his decision to travel around Rome in a blue Ford Focus instead of one of the Mercedes sedans in the Vatican motor pool was meant to be a message.
Meeting with seminarians and novices in July, he said too many people - including religious - think joy comes from possessions, 'so they go in quest of the latest model of smartphone, the fastest scooter, the showy car.'
'I tell you, it truly grieves me to see a priest or a sister with the latest model of a car,' he said. For many priests and religious, cars are a necessity, 'but choose a more humble car. And if you like the beautiful one, only think of all the children who are dying of hunger.'
A few days after his election, Pope Francis told reporters who had covered the conclave, 'How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor.'
In October, he travelled to the birthplace of St Francis of Assisi and met clients of Catholic charities in the room where St Francis had stripped off his cloak and renounced his family's wealth. The Pope said he knew some people were expecting him to say or do something similarly shocking with the Church's material goods.
FULL STORY Lessons in style: Pope's gestures, choices are teaching moments (CNS)