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VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis has confessed that he took the cross of his late confessor's rosary from his casket and he wears it to this day in a fabric pouch under his cassock, hoping to have half as much mercy as the priest.

Francis made the revelation Thursday during an informal meeting with Roman priests. He told the story of the "great confessor" in Buenos Aires who heard confessions from most of his priests as well as from Pope John Paul II when he visited Argentina.

When the priest died, Francis went to pray by his open casket. He said: "I saw the rosary he had in his hand and immediately there came to mind the thief we all have inside ourselves and while I arranged the flowers I took the cross."

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