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Meet the Argentine priest who saw the Pope 'steal' a crucifix

2014-06-20

A few months ago, Pope Francis revealed a secret. It had to do with a crucifix he keeps tucked in his shirt pocket.

The crucifix belonged to a late Argentine priest, who was well-known for spending hours confessing worshipers. Cardinal Bergoglio was among them, and attended the priest's wake.

POPE FRANCIS
"I went to a flower shop in Buenos Aires, because you can buy crosses made of flowers on the street. I bought roses, came back, and started placing the flowers on his coffin. Right away, the thief in all of us came to mind. While I laid the flowers on his coffin, I took the crucifix from the rosary, about this size, I pulled gently and removed it. In that moment, I looked at him and said: 'Give me half of your mercy.'”

The only witness to this episode was Father Andres Taborda, who was praying before the coffin, when the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires arrived.

FR. ANDRES TABORDA
"When Msgr. Bergoglio arrived, we introduced ourselves and then he told me,  'He was my confessor for so many years.' I then looked at the rosary and he told me,  'I can take his rosary, right?' I said,  'Yes, you're the bishop, you can do it.' He took the rosary in his hands and held it with a lot of emotion.”


Fr. Andres adds that the late priest had a great impact on Bergoglio, because he was a man of deep prayer and a great confessor. 

FR. ANDRES TABORDA
"What he said about praying to Father Aristi, to give him half of his mercy it's true. He was a very merciful man.”


Fr. Andres was surprised when he heard the Pope talking about this personal anecdote and secret. 

FR. ANDRES TABORDA
"I loved it. At times, I would share the story with some of my friends, but just as a simple anecdote. He, on the other hand, made it public and universal.”

Even though he's currently a priest in Buenos Aires, he travels to Rome often. One day, he might even have the opportunity to see the Pope in person, and talk about that unique experience that's now been heard around the world. 


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