Today, Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio officially became Pope Francis.
Pope Francis was formally installed as head of the planet’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, promising great inroads on behalf of the world’s poor.
200,000 faithful packed St Peter’s Square for the inaugural mass. Striking the tone of humility, fast becoming a trademark of his papacy, Pope Francis offered a pledge to serve “the poorest, the weakest, the least important.”
“We are all protectors of creation, of the plan of God written in nature,” he said. “Protectors of one another, of the environment.”
The homily was given in Italian, thousands receive communion and in an especially poignant moment, the Pope, driven through the crowd, steps from his car, and offered an embrace to a disabled man.
There were also greetings for the first Roman Catholic vice president in American history, Joe Biden. Biden was among the scores of dignitaries from around the globe that was on hand for the mass.
Signs of the new pontiff’s commitment to simplicity abound. Rather than accepting the traditional gold fisherman’s ring, Francis insisted on one forged from silver.”
Seated on a throne under a canopy in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis implored those visiting world leaders to protect not just the environment, but all human life; to use tenderness to inspire hope.
A new poll out tonight finds the new pope is making a very good first impression on American Catholics, amid optimism that he has the potential to turn the corner on past scandals and revitalize the Catholic Church.