Pope offended by his own myth and mystique

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By AP

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Updated: Wed, 05 Mar 2014 05:14:17 EST

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis says he finds the hype that is increasingly surrounding him "offensive."

In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Francis said he doesn't appreciate the myth-making that has seen him depicted as a "Superpope" who sneaks out at night to feed the poor. On Wednesday, a new Italian weekly hit newsstands — a gossip magazine devoted entirely to the pope.

Francis said: "The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else. A normal person."

Francis also said he and Pope Benedict XVI had agreed that the emeritus pontiff would "participate in the life of the church," in keeping with Francis' belief that the elderly shouldn't be hidden away in homes when they have a wealth of experience to offer.

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