Pope Francis’s first day at the Vatican

March 14, 2013

Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters: March 14, 2013
Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, leaves after praying at the the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome. At second left is Cardinal Santos Abril of Spain.

On Wednesday, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected on the fifth vote of the conclave to serve as the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. We'll be posting updates today on his first full day as pontiff, as well as reaction and analysis from around the world.

That’s it for today

We’re winding down our Pope Francis liveblog now. Be sure to check out our other coverage on the pope, including a look at Argentina's newspapers' reaction to the pope and what the pope's name tells us about his leadership style.

Pope Francis celebrates first Mass

"I hope we'll have the courage to walk in the presence of the Lord," Pope Francis said during his first Mass as pope today.

The service has emphasized building the church and "walking in the presence of the Lord," according to the Catholic News Service, which is helpfully live-tweeting the mass. Pope Francis only spoke for seven minutes.

Speaker Boehner too busy to meet the pope


Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington July 28, 2011. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

House Speaker John Boehner is too busy to travel to the Vatican, he said Thursday.

The U.S. delegation to Rome for Pope Francis's installation, led by Vice President Biden, is scheduled for Tuesday. But Boehner, a practicing Catholic, had to turn down President Obama's invitation to join. Rachel Weiner quotes Boehner as saying:

“I am grateful for the invitation to attend the papal investiture in Rome with Vice President Biden, and would like to be able to join the trip,” Boehner responded. “Unfortunately, my duties in the House next week – including hosting President Obama and the Prime Minister of Ireland at the Capitol on Tuesday, and the debate on the budget – make that impossible.”

He added, “I wish the Vice President all the best in his journey, and hope he communicates the prayers and warm regards of every American, especially Catholics, to the first pope from the Americas.”

Biden, also a Catholic, has served as one of Obama's informal advisers on issues concerning the Catholic Church.

Photo: Bergoglio washed feet of hospital patients

Pope Francis has been described as "humble" and "soft-spoken," a man who visited ghettos and hospitals to meet and minister to the poor. Now photos of his ministries are surfacing on Twitter and Facebook, though it's difficult to verify when and where the photos were taken.

This AP photo, taken on March 20, 2008, shows then-Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio kissing the feet of a man during a mass with youths trying to overcome drug addictions in Buenos Aires.


(AP)

This image, apparenty a screengrab from Youtube, seems to be from the same mass.


(Youtube)

The Catholic charity Caritas says this photo was taken in a maternity hospital on Holy Thursday in 2005.


(Via Caritas)

Regardless of when and where the photos were taken, commenters have celebrated reports of Bergoglio's works.

"Finally we have a pope!" One woman wrote on Facebook.

Pope Francis brings humor to the dinner table


VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 13: Newly elected Pope Francis appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica on March 13, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th Pontiff and will lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

If Pope Francis is nervous about leading the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, he didn't showing it during dinner Wednesday.  NBC reported that not long after being elected the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis joked with cardinals about his new position:

Lombardi said Pope Francis declined the official papal car – featuring license plate "Vatican 1" - for his first journey from the Sistine Chapel, choosing instead to board a bus with cardinals who had just elected him.

Later, at dinner, the new pope prompted laughter by responding to their toast with the remark: "May God forgive you for what you have done."

The pope's sense of humor and humility are what separates him from past popes, said New York's Cardinal Tim Dolan:

"When he was pointed toward the [raised] chair and told that was where he was to sit, he said, 'No, I’m going to stand down here’ and greeted each of us as brothers, literally on the same level where we were.”

The pope can tango, and more unusual Francis facts

The Post's Anthony Faiola has written a profile of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a.k.a. the new Pope Francis, which you should check out if you haven't yet.

Faiola's story tackles some of the bigger questions around Bergoglio, like his simple lifestyle and alleged involvement in Argentina's "Dirty War." But for Francis facts of a lighter nature, we turn to Peter Weber at The Week, who has compiled a list of intriguing papal trivia. For instance:

  • Bergoglio got a master's degree in chemistry before joining the Jesuit order, and earned degrees in philosophy and theology after becoming a priest.
  • He has worked as both a nightclub bouncer and a college professor.
  • Before he "discovered [his] religious vocation," Bergoglio enjoyed dancing tango and had a girlfriend he went dancing with.

According to Spain's Heraldo de Aragon, Bergoglio is also a big fan of the Buenos Aires soccer club San Lorenzo de Almagro, and even has a jersey signed by the team. New York magazine reports the new pope loves opera, cooks his own food, and wakes up at 4:30 a.m. every day.

Video: Pope Francis privately prays at basilica in Rome

Inside the Sistine Chapel

Jason Horowtiz has some reporting on what the scene was like inside the Sistine Chapel as the new pope was elected.

Applause broke out in the Sistine Chapel for Bergoglio when he crossed the threshold of 77 votes, and again when he said “Accetto,” I accept, according to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, himself a candidate for the throne. Dolan told reporters that Bergoglio “immediately said, ‘I choose the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi,’ ” referring to a rich man’s son who took a vow of poverty.

After vesting in the white robes, the new pontiff looked at a white chair brought out for him on a platform and said, “Oh, I’ll stay down here,’ ” Dolan said, adding that Francis eschewed a car that was available to ferry him back to the cardinals’ simply hotel.

“And as the last bus pulls up, guess who gets off?” Dolan said, describing the scene to reporters. “It’s Pope Francis. I guess he told the driver, ‘that’s okay, I’ll just go with the boys’.”

Dolan also said Francis asked the cardinals to skip a post-election prayer inside the chapel, because he didn’t want to keep the throngs of well-wishers in St. Peter’s Square waiting in the rain.

Read Horowtiz's full story here.

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Caitlin Dewey · March 14, 2013