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While he was still in the Sistine Chapel, his aides had set up a throne-like chair on a platform for him to sit on while the cardinals pledged their obedience one at a time.
Instead, he came down to their lower level and remained standing while they each greeted him.
Less than an hour later, he shunned the papal limousine that was waiting to take him to a Vatican residence for a meal.
“And as the last bus pulls up, guess who gets off? It’s Pope Francis. I guess he told the driver ‘That’s OK, I’ll just go with the boys,’” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.
The only difference between him and the cardinals was that he was no longer wearing their red robes, but white.
There was more unorthodox papal behaviour on Thursday morning when Francis returned to the Church-run residence where he had checked in as a cardinal for the conclave. He insisted on paying his hotel bill, despite now being the boss.
“He wanted to get his luggage and the bags. He had left everything there,” a Vatican spokesman told a news briefing.
“He then stopped in the office, greeted everyone and decided to pay the bill for the room … because he was concerned about giving a good example of what priests and bishops should do.”
The spokesman did not disclose the amount of the bill.
Jorge Bergoglio brought a reputation for frugality from his native Argentina, and is the first pope to take the name of St. Francis of Assisi, who preached the virtue of living in poverty. The name is seen as a gesture of solidarity with the poor.