Guide to Pope Francis’ Visit
This FAQ in Slate has nothing to do with sailing, but it sublimely reflects the absurdity surrounding the pope’s visit. It has been edited for brevity.
This being the United States, I suspect that people are selling all sorts of gimmicky commemorative items related to the pope’s visit in a way that would seem to undermine his points about not letting money and consumerism dominate every aspect of life.
That’s correct. This Daily Beast roundup highlights a nice selection of ridiculousness, including a microbrew called YOPO (You Only Pope Once) and a G-string featuring something Pope Francis said about the poor. (N.b.: The Beast identifies this site as the official site for the pope’s visit, which it isn’t. There is no official pope-visit site, butthis section of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ site is probably the closest thing to it.)
For some of his appearances—along the National Mall and in Central Park, for example—the pope will ride in his popemobile, which is a modified Jeep Wrangler. Francis’ popemobiles, unlike the ones often used by his immediate predecessors, are open-air; he can reach out to give blessings and make other hands-on gestures. Pope John Paul II—who in 1979 pioneered use of the elevated-seat vehicles that we call popemobiles—had a good reason for surrounding himself with bulletproof glass, which is that he was shot four times and severely wounded in 1981 while riding in an open-air modified Fiat.
Surprising fact: Previous popes, right up to John Paul I, were sometimes transported via sedia gestatoria, i.e., chairs carried on the shoulders of attendants, as you might see in movies about caravans and ancient Egypt.
Is his legal name “Pope Francis”?
Yes, that’s what’s on his Vatican City passport. He also still holds an Argentine passport under his given name.
Does every pope visit the United States?
Since Paul VI became the first to do so in 1965, each pope except John Paul I (who was pope for only 33 days before his death) has made at least one trip to the U.S. John Paul II, the most widely traveled pope, came here seven times.
Does the pope get a paycheck?
Does he get health insurance, at least?
Like all Vatican employees, the pope receives health care from Vatican Health Services.
Who hears the pope’s confessions?
There’s no formal system or appointed confessor, but Francis says he confesses every two weeks and did so in view of cameras and the public in St. Peter’s Basilica in 2014.
Which old-time pope had funniest name?
Pope Hyginus (138-142).
One more question. If the pope touches you in Philadelphia and you are an Eagles fan, will the Eagles start winning?
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