Pope Francis begins reign with grand ceremony

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Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. AP

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis knelt at the tomb of St. Peter and donned a ring symbolizing his new papal powers at a sumptuous inauguration on Tuesday as tens of thousands of pilgrims cheered Latin America’s first pontiff.

Francis swept into a sun-drenched St. Peter’s Square to greet the throngs and walked in a procession along the length of the basilica as prelates chanted a Litany of Saints in Latin.

The 265th successor to St. Peter, considered the first pope, also received from his cardinals the pallium — a lambswool strip of cloth that symbolises the pope’s role as a shepherd.

The “Fisherman’s Ring” bestowed on him by Angelo Sodano, the dean of the college of cardinals, is a personalized signet ring traditionally worn by popes in honor of St. Peter — a fisherman.

Crowds had gathered from the early morning to see the Argentine pope’s enthronement in a rare ceremony laden with centuries-old rituals and lavish imagery.

Francis gave the thumbs-up to ecstatic crowds and stopped to kiss babies, getting off the car at one point to bless a handicapped man.

“With Pope Francis, the Church will be closer to the people and to the modern world,” said Rodrigo Grajales, a 31-year-old Colombian priest.

The former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has already won hearts in Rome with a disarmingly informal style which contrasted with Tuesday’s pomp and ceremony.

The Vatican said 132 foreign delegations attended.

Bergoglio was the surprise choice at a conclave of cardinals to find a successor to 85-year-old Benedict XVI, who last month brought a sudden end to a papacy that had often been overshadowed by scandal, saying he was too old to carry on.

He was the first pope to resign since the Middle Ages.

The jovial Francis has said he chose his papal name in honour of the medieval Italian saint St. Francis of Assisi and has called for a “poor Church for the poor”, warning the world’s cardinals against pursuing worldly glories.

“Go Francis! We Will Be With You Wherever You Go!” read a sign held up by a group of Brazilian nuns in St Peter’s Square.

Sister Rosa, an elderly Italian nun, said she expected the pope would be “another St. Francis on Earth for love, goodness, poverty and humility.”

The son of an Italian immigrant railway worker from a working-class quarter of Buenos Aires has been effusive in a way that is unusual in the Vatican.

But the arrival of world leaders has presented him with a first diplomatic headache in the form of a request from compatriot President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina to mediate in a row with Britain over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

Francis is still haunted by criticism at home for failing to speak out against the excesses of Argentina’s military rule during the dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s.

The Chinese government has also said it will not be sending any representatives after Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said he was attending.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe also flew in, sidestepping an EU travel ban over human rights abuses that does not apply to the Vatican.

Latin America was heavily represented at the inauguration of the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years, with the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Paraguay all in attendance.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and European Union leaders were also present.

Leaders of the Eastern Catholic Rite were also in attendance, including Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

Vatican radio said it was the first time a patriarch of Constantinople had attended an inauguration since 1054 when the eastern and western halfs of Christendom split.

The Vatican was in security lockdown for the event, with 3,000 officers deployed including sharpshooters on the rooftops and bomb disposal experts.

Three Red Cross tents could be seen on the square and giant screens have been placed all down Via della Conciliazione — the main avenue leading to St. Peter’s.

The mass proper will include a homily by Francis, who has often strayed from prepared texts with off-the-cuff jokes, anecdotes and passionate exhortations for spiritual renewal.

Church leaders have urged Francis to move quickly to reform the intrigue-filled Roman Curia, the central administration of the Roman Catholic Church, and his appointments in the coming weeks will be closely watched.

Francis has indicated he will press for a friendlier faith that is closer to ordinary people and for social justice, although the moderate conservative is unlikely to change major tenets of Catholic doctrine.

Vatican experts say he has also signalled he will pursue a more inclusive “collegial” style of leadership together with the cardinals and bishops.

Vast crowds also gathered on the other side of the Atlantic outside the Buenos Aires cathedral to dance and sing as they watched the inauguration.

Catholic high school students chanted slogans praising Francis, while seminarians and nuns waved Vatican flags and signs supporting the new pope.

“This pope has awakened deep emotions within me, not only because he’s from Argentina, but because of his warmth as a person,” Celia Farias, 33, told AFP.

“As a Catholic, it has renewed my faith.”

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  • Bisdak_kaayo

    Ito ang first sentence sa news:

    Pope Francis knelt at the tomb of St. Peter and donned a ring symbolizing his new papal powers at a sumptuous inauguration on Tuesday as tens of thousands of pilgrims cheered Latin America’s first pontiff.

    Ito ang sabi sa biblia.

    Acts 10:24-26 (NIV)
    24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

    Catholicism is guilty of violating the commandment not to kneel to anybody except God. PETER rebuked Cornelius because HE IS ONLY A MAN not worthy to be bowed down upon.

    • Magsasaka

      tama ka, may mga ilang nasusulat sa bibliya na salungat sa katoliko at may mga relihiyon na sumusunod sa maraming nasusulat sa bibliya pero halos lahat ng relihiyon na alam ko nabubuhay sa pera kaya wala namang pinagkaiba, yong ibang relihiyon nga ang gagaling sa verses sa bible pero ginawa naman silang zombie na sunudsunuran sa lider nila, mayroon ding isang relihiyon ang kinikilala nilang sugo ay manyakis pala kaya ang sumatotal walang relihiyon na magliligtas sa kaluluwa ng tao at nakasulat din iyan

  • Bisdak_kaayo

    Ito ang sabi ng Biblia

    Matthew 6:5-7
    New International Version (NIV)

    5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

    Who is the most guilty of the religious groups in violating this commandment?

    Sa halip magtago at magsara ng kwarto tuwing magdarasal, nagpoprocession pa at gumagamit pa ng TROMPA sa kanilang pagsisiwalat sa kanilang pagdarasal sa madlang people.

    Which group is most guilty? Alam niyo na. While other religious groups are guilty as well, hindi po maikakaila kung anong grupo ang pinaka guilty sa lahat. The sins of other groups does not ERASE the sins of the Catholic Church. Sila daw ang na-una sa lahat na dominasyon ng Kristianismo. Naging good example nga ba sila?

  • Magsasaka

    if Pope Francis will be true to his advocacy to protect the poor and the weak, beware rapist priest, gay priest you and priest doing unpriestly you will be down the line

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