The Pope stole a rosary cross off of a late much-admired priest once, he admitted on Thursday to some other Roman priests. The Pontiff was recounting an incident that happened back when he was still serving the ministry in Buenos Aires, but he didn't say exactly when the event occurred.
The Pope stole the rosary from "the great confessor" of Buenos Aires: he was an elderly priest who had heard the most intimate confessions of many important diocesan priests and even Pope John Paul II himself when he came to Argentina. However, when he came to pray at the man's casket, there were no flowers there.
"This man forgave all the sins of all the priests of Buenos Aires, but not a single flower?" Pope Francis said. He resolved to make the situation right, according to the Associated Press.
When Pope Francis, then Jorge Mario Bergoglio, returned with a bouquet of flowers for the late priest, he spied the rosary in his hand. He described how he was tempted for a brief moment and yielded.
"And immediately there came to mind the thief we all have inside ourselves and while I arranged the flowers I took the cross and with just a bit of force I removed it," Pope Francis admitted. "And in that moment I looked at him and I said, 'Give me half your mercy.'"
Pope Francis still keeps the rosary today in a small pouch underneath his cassock, AP reported.
"And whenever a bad thought comes to mind about someone, my hand goes here, always," the Pontiff said, pointing to his heart. "And I feel the grace, and that makes me feel better."