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As he did in Argentina, Pope Francis walks the Roman streets at night to hand out money to needy

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Walking the walk, Pope Francis is continuing his personal outreach program he began as the archbishop of Argentina: He's reportedly been sneaking out of the Vatican at night to give money to the poor on the streets of Rome.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An interview with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, whose role includes distributing money from the Holy See to the poor, has prompted the latest speculation.

Krajewski says that the pope has often asked him to accompany him on his nighttime strolls.

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"When I say to him 'I'm going out into the city this evening," there's the constant risk that he will come with me," he says. Asked directly if the Pontiff ever joined him, the Polish archbishop, who is the Vatican Almoner, avoided the question. "Next question please," was the reply. Many see this as an admission by many as an admission of the Holy Father's secret trips out into the night to give alms.

"Swiss Guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women," a Vatican source has told the Huffington Post.

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The Catholic Church is currently basking in the "Francis Effect" which has been credited with a 20 percent rise in congregations in Britain along with similar boosts around the world.

Trying on a firefighter's helmet, allowing a young boy to hug his leg during a mass and phoning up his followers for a chat are just a few of the ways Pope Francis has attracted positive attention in the last few months.

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This latest claim comes weeks after he was pictured kissing and embracing disfigured worshipers in St Peter's Square, and amid stories he has personally sent money to struggling pensioners and to immigrants.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the pope was known to often go out at night, to find people, talk with them, and sometimes buy them something to eat.

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It wouldn't be the first example of a pope leaving the Vatican enclave late at night, as past Popes are also rumored to have left the Vatican at night.

According to legend, Pope John XIII would creep out at  night to enjoy the beauty of Rome and Pope Pius XII would dress as a Franciscan during World War Two to help smuggle Rome's Jewish to safety.

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