The speculation that he may be doing so arises from an interview with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, “Almoner of His Holiness” – a little-known post that dates back to the 13th century that involves distributing money from the Holy See to the poor and marginalized.
“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,” said the Polish prelate.
When asked directly if Pope Francis ever joined him on these evening trips into the city, Archbishop Krajewski only smiled and said “Next question, please.” Some take that as an implicit suggestion that the Holy Father indeed is going incognito into the streets to give alms as he did while Buenos Aires.
“That’s what he’s like – at the beginning (of his papacy) he didn’t think of the awkwardness that he might create. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, when he was known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the future pontiff “would go out at night . . . to find people, talk with them, or buy them something to eat. He would sit with them and eat with them on the street. This is what he wants from me,” Krajewski said.
Rumors of past Popes sneaking out of the Vatican are plentiful, including the stories that Pope John XIII would sneak out to walk and enjoy the beauty of Rome at night or that Pope Pius XII would dress as a Franciscan during WWII to assist with efforts to smuggle Rome’s Jewish population to safety.