Pope Francis pays dues 'religiously' to favorite football club

Mon Aug 5, 2013 5:15pm EDT
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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Pope Francis, a card-carrying fan of the San Lorenzo football club in his native Buenos Aires, is not letting his new global responsibilities distract him from paying his club dues on time, the team's vice president, Marcelo Tinelli, said on Monday.

"His payment is there, bang on time, every month. He pays his dues religiously," Tinelli told Fox Sports in a televised interview. "It's paid through an automatic debit."

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a former archbishop of Buenos Aires who took the name Francis when he was elected pope in March, was known for his modest lifestyle when he lived in Argentina.

He often talked soccer with his fellow commuters while riding the bus to work as archbishop, celebrating San Lorenzo's wins, and lamenting their losses.

Club Atletico San Lorenzo de Almagro, founded in 1908 by a priest named Lorenzo Massa, is an "A" league team whose stadium is in Bajo Flores, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods. The team won its first game of the 2013 season over the weekend, when it beat Olimpo 2-1.

(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Guido Nejamkis; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Pope Francis gestures as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic palace in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, August 4, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini