Pope Captivates Crowds With 1st Words About Peace

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON Associated Press
VATICAN CITY March 14, 2013 (AP)

Before they even saw his face, Pope Francis had already won over the Roman masses.

The announcement that he would be known by the same name as St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of Italy, sent the crowd into ecstasy.

He did even better with his first words, when the 76-year-old Argentine said the cardinals had reached to the “end of the earth” to find the bishop of Rome — recalling the beloved Pope John Paul II, a Polish cardinal who told his first crowd in 1978 that cardinals had called him “from a far country.”

The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is the son of an Italian immigrant and his Italian is only lightly accented.

“Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity,” he said.

The Romans weren’t the only ones who were won over.

Kim Daniels, director of Catholic Voices USA, was struck by the humility the pope exhibited when he emerged on the balcony.

“He kneeled down. He asked for the crowd’s blessing. We saw him pray along with the crowd the Our Father, the Hail Mary, joining us all in those prayers that are so familiar to Catholics,” she said.

“It was a sign of humility. It was a sign that holiness is the most important thing here. It is so, so wonderful to see someone really focus on prayer like that.”

And he sounded almost grandfatherly as he wished the crowd, “Good night and sleep well.”

His choice of dress also sent a message. Francis steered clear of the fur-trimmed red cape known as a mozzetta that popes often wear for ceremonial occasions, and put on a stole only for his blessing. That is in keeping with a personal style that has been considered the antithesis of Vatican splendor

At home in Buenos Aires, he sold the expensive archbishop’s residence and lived in a modest apartment, did his own cooking and rode the bus to work.

That is in marked contrast with the way a number of Vatican cardinals live, starting with splendid homes and chauffeured cars.

Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, lived modestly. But his values clashed with Vatican officials linked to corruption and careerism and he was undermined by a scandal of leaked confidential documents that was blamed on his personal butler.

Now those issues fall on Francis to solve.

  1. #1 by boh-liao on Thursday, 14 March 2013 - 8:20 am

    White smoke billowed fr a Sistine Chapel chimney, signalling d end of d short, sweet, n decisive search 4 a new pope n d beginning of a new pope

    While here, our guy who fears 2 b d last of d RAHMAN prophecy has yet 2 announce GE13: 2 b or not 2 b; I want 2 dissolve parliament, I want 2 dissolve parliament not (while petals keep coming off fr a flower) – OH, bomoh, help! OH, MMK, help! OH, RM, help!

    Meanwhile, a former deputy PM’s asserted dat M’sia will not go bankrupt if PR captures Putrajaya in GE13, hitting at NR, MMK, n UmnoB/BN

  2. #2 by Cinapek on Thursday, 14 March 2013 - 11:15 am

    The first order of business of the new Pope is to call up the guy who went to Rome and preach religious moderation, religious harmony etc for vested reasons but the moment his plane landed on home ground he only lectured the Christians to respect Islam instead of telling people of all faiths in this country to respect each other’s religion.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Thursday, 14 March 2013 - 2:11 pm

    What can a 76 year man do as a leader…I wonder.

    • #4 by megaman on Thursday, 14 March 2013 - 4:46 pm

      Nelson Mandela was 76 when he became the President of South Africa.
      He dismantled apartheid and help unite a country divided by race.

      Mother Teressa was 87 when she passed away while still administering to the poor in India.

      And you wonder what a 76 year old man can do as a leader ?

      True nobility does not erode with age nor humility, only pride and vanity would.

  4. #5 by good coolie on Thursday, 14 March 2013 - 11:46 pm

    St. Francis of Assisi!:God’s pauper!. Another example is the biblical Lazarus “who was once poor” but now rich.
    I saw, that evening, wonderment and love in Pope Francis’s eyes as he gazed at his flock. Just like St. Francis, Pope Francis will be an example of how one can be poor and fragile, yet move mountains with prayer and thanksgiving.

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