RELIGION

Pope Francis' Modest Lifestyle 'Personifies' The Message Of The Catholic Church

03/19/2015 10:23 am ET | Updated Mar 19, 2015

Since Pope Francis began his tenure as the leader of the Catholic Church two years ago, he's made a name for himself with his modest lifestyle and fearless approach to the church's stance on non-traditional issues.

Catholic priest Stan Chu Ilo told HuffPost Live that the pontiff's legacy has been built on simplicity, which has only boosted his credibility among his followers.

"The church can only be credible when the church personifies what the church preaches," he told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani.

When the pope was elected, he went against Vatican tradition by choosing not to live in the apostolic apartments. Instead he lives in the Casa Santa Marta, a Vatican residence that houses visiting clergy and non-clergy members.

"There is something wonderful about a pope who lives in [an] ordinary place with ordinary Vatican staff," Chu said. "There is something wonderful about a pope who decides not to put on all the paraphernalia of pomp and power, who [avoids] this atmosphere of [the] glory [of] the triumphalist church that is enrobed in gold and silver and diamond."

The pope has also made headlines for his mode of transportation, a 30-year old white Renault 4. Although he later purchased another vehicle, he has since raffled it off to raise funds for the poor. As Chu explained, these day-to-day choices have gained positive attention for the church.

"I think in his very life, in his very credible lifestyle, he's living like Jesus Christ, which is what's really attracting so many people to his message," he said.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about the pope's 2-year tenure here.

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