He learned to speak English in Ireland
In January 1980, when Pope Francis was a little known Jesuit named Jorge Bergoglio, he arrived in Ireland to study in Milltown, Co. Dublin for 3 months. There he attended classes and daily prayers, mixed with the locals and learned English. Well, sort of.
Despite his stint in Ireland, English is still the foreign language he still struggles with the most.
He has a doppelgänger.
It might be surprising to know that Pope Francis’ doppelgänger comes in the form of a life-sized chocolate dessert.
The papal confectionary was presented by a group of 20 amateur chocolatiers last month. Unfortunately Chocolate Pope hasn’t been seen since this twitter picture of him in the back of a van last month. He’s now missing, presumed eaten.
He’s a fan of the selfie.
Okay, so ‘fan’ might be stretching it a bit, but he’s certainly not opposed to the odd selfie, as proven last year when he posed with some young pilgrims in Rome.
As far as we know, this is the first time he was selfied. But who knows what gems are hidden in the phone of his fellow churchmen or his very own Pope-mobile?
Pope my ride.
Pope Francis first made headlines by using a 5-year old Ford Focus as his papal transport but took things a step further when he chose a 1984 Renault as his personal car. The 29-year old sedan was a gift from Father Renzo Zocca, who had used it for many years to serve the poor.
Not only did it emphasize his message of thift and poverty, it also opened the door for a whole new discussion on 1984 Renaults.
Que hashtags like #PopesRenault and #VaticanMechanic, under which the best pope-puns and jokes were collected. Here are some highlights:
I haven’t seen car trouble like this since we tried to fit all the Apostles in one Accord.
It’s either burning oil, or you’ve just been replaced.
Look the Vatican acquired a new relic.
“Well, sir, it keeps overheating because the water in the radiator keeps turning to wine…”
If they can cram 6 or 7 parishioners in it to drive to St. Peter’s on Sunday, is it considered Mass Transit?
He used to be a bouncer.
When you think of the resume of a prospective Pope, ‘bouncer’ might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But in his youth Pope Francis spent some time removing troublemakers from nightclubs in Buenos Aires, something he believes helped him to bring people back to the church later in life.
He’s a sports fan.
The otherwise little-known San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer club in Argentina gained international prominence when The Holy Father announced he was a fan. The team, from Francis’ home neighborhood, showed their gratitude by playing with the Pope's photo on their jerseys during a league match in March 2013.
He has one and a half lungs.
Back in the days when he was 21 and known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he suffered from pneumonia and cysts. During treatment he had to have part of one lung removed.
He owned a Harley-Davidson.
After the Pope gave his blessing to hundreds of Harley bikers in St. Peters Square, he was rewarded with his very own Harley-Davidson motorcycle. But don’t expect to see him zipping around the Vatican on it; he sold it at an auction to benefit the homeless
He has a Master’s in Chemistry.
Before becoming Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis studied for a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires. He then became a teacher of Psychology, Philosophy, Theology and Literature.
He was once a ladies man.
A 2010 biography* revealed that the Pope once had a girlfriend. The mystery lady was among “a group of friends” he went dancing with. However, the romance was short-lived; “But then I discovered my religious vocation," he says.