Pope says as boy he wanted to be butcher

Fri Nov 6, 2015 7:29am EST
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, who has vowed to reform the Roman Catholic Church, making it leaner and simpler, has disclosed that as a little boy he wanted to become a butcher.

He made the comment in an interview with Straatnieuws, a Dutch newspaper written by and for homeless people.

Asked if he ever dreamed of becoming pope when he was young, Francis recalled that he often went with his mother and grandmother to shop at a local market because there were no stores in the Argentine neighborhood where he grew up.

"I'll tell you a secret," he said. "I was very little. I was four years old. One time they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said: 'a butcher,'" he said.

Since his election in 2013 as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, the pope has stressed that he wants a Church that is poor and for the poor.

He has urged Church leaders to live simpler lives and set the example himself by relinquishing the spacious papal apartments for a small suite in the Vatican guest house.

Francis told the paper that he would not have been able to live in the papal apartments, which he called big but not luxurious, "simply for mental reasons".

"It would have meant being isolated ... this place does me good because I feel free," he said, adding that his current lifestyle made the Vatican feel "less of a gilded cage".   Continued...

Pope Francis attends the weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, November 4, 2015. REUTERS/ Alessandro Bianchi