News / Europe

Pope Francis Holds First Mass as Pontiff

In this image made from video provided by CTV, Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.
In this image made from video provided by CTV, Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.
VOA News
Pope Francis began his first full day as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics with prayers at a basilica in Rome Thursday, then was celebrating Mass in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel privately with the cardinals who elected him on Wednesday.

Also on his schedule was a meeting with his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who resigned the papacy last month. Benedict, now known as the church's pope emeritus, has been staying out of the Vatican spotlight at the papal summer retreat outside Rome.

The new pope, formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, is the first Jesuit - a priest of the Society of Jesus - to be elected to lead the global church and the first of 266 popes throughout the past 2,000 years to take the name Francis.

About 40 percent of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics live in Latin America, with Brazil and Mexico having the largest Catholic populations.

Pope Francis, like the saint whose name he has chosen, is noted for his humility and commitment to social issues. He has been criticized in Argentina for his firm opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion, a complaint was once filed there claiming he failed to denounce atrocities committed by Argentina's military government between 1976 and 1983.

  • Pope Francis with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, holding a picture of a plaque commemorating the 1984 peace and friendship treaty between Argentina and Chile, March 18, 2013.
  • Pope Francis and Uruguay's priest Gonzalo Aemilius greet people at the Vatican, March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis greets the crowds after conducting a mass in Saint Anna church inside the Vatican, March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis appears at the window of his future private apartment to bless the faithful, gathered below in St. Peter's Square, during the Sunday Angelus prayer at the Vatican March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis conducts a mass in Santa Anna church inside the Vatican, March 17, 2013.
  • Pope Francis leaves the Paul VI hall with security at the Vatican, March 16, 2013.
  • Pope Francis checks out of the church-run residence where he had been staying in Rome before becoming pontiff, March, 14, 2013. (Osservatore Romano)
  • Key chains featuring images of the newly-elected Pope Francis are displayed in a tourist shop near the Vatican in Rome, March 15, 2013.
  • In this image made from video provided by CTV, Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals, inside the Sistine Chapel, at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.
  • Newly elected Pope Francis waves from the steps of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome, March 14, 2013.
  • Newly elected Pope Francis walks in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore during a private visit in Rome, March 14, 2013.
  • Newly elected Pope Francis makes a private visit to the 5th-century Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, in a photo released by Osservatore Romano in Rome, March 14, 2013.
  • A nun takes a photograph of the first batch of souvenirs adorned with freshly-printed pictures of the newly-elected Pope Francis in a shop at the Vatican, March 14, 2013.

The fact that the pope is not Italian, or even European, may bode well for the church, according to the Reverend William Currie, a Jesuit priest who is a former president of a Catholic university in Tokyo.

"I think the fact that he is an outsider to the Vatican, an outsider to the Curia [the church administration in Rome], there are advantages and disadvantages, but frequently an outsider can make changes where maybe someone who has been inside the system too long could not."

Joe Torres, bureau chief of the website Catholic Asia News, says Asians hope Pope Francis will be aware of issues that are important to them.

"Most Asians hope that their voice will be heard in the running of the church. There are many issues in Asia, like poverty in the midst of economic development in some parts of the world. That’s why stronger voice of the church about equality, about human rights, about the injustices that are still going on in some parts of Asia, are most awaited from the new pope."

Torres is based in the Philippines, where about 80 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. Torres says Asians are eager to learn about the new pope because, until now, he has been "virtually unknown" in their part of the world.

VOA's Celia Mendoza, in Vatican City, says Pope Francis is also noteworthy for being "very engaged with digital media."

"He’s a theologist, he’s a very smart man, but he also embraces technology... And he actually writes for different media that are ... on the Internet," she said.

At the same time, she notes that the new pope is seen as a theological traditionalist.

"You have to remember that he is a little bit of an 'old school' guy in terms of his doctrine," Mendoza said. "And that's why eight years ago he was a contender [to become pope] along with Benedict XVI."

  • Pope Francis arrives at the St. Francis Basilica to lead a mass as part of his pastoral visit in Assisi, Italy, Oct. 4, 2013.
  • Pope Francis greets faithful upon arrival for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • Then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio leads a mass during the annual gathering and pilgrimage to the church dedicated to Saint Cajetan, the patron saint of labor and bread, in Buenos Aires, August 7, 2009.
  • Then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio greets people during the annual gathering and pilgrimage to the church dedicated to Saint Cajetan in Buenos Aires, August 7, 2009.
  • Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner greets then Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio at the Basilica of Lujan, Dec. 22, 2008.
  • Then Pope Benedict greets then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the Vatican, Jan. 13, 2007.
  • Then Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio washes the feet of two newly born children on Holy Thursday at the Buenos Aires' Sarda maternity hospital, March 24, 2005.
  • Jorge Bergoglio is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of Clarin.
  • Jorge Bergoglio poses in this undated handout photo courtesy of Clarin.
  • Jorge Bergoglio and his family are seen in this undated handout photo provided by Clarin.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
March 14, 2013 12:25 PM
The issue concerning any church and its practices should be “Is this biblical?” If a teaching is Biblical (taken in context), it should be embraced. If it is not, it should be rejected. God is more interested in whether a church is doing His will and obeying His Word than whether it can trace a line of succession back to Jesus’ apostles. Jesus was very concerned about abandoning the Word of God to follow the traditions of men (Mark 7:7). Traditions are not inherently invalid…there are some good and valuable traditions. Again, the issue must be whether a doctrine, practice, or tradition is Biblical. How then does the Roman Catholic Church compare with the teachings of the Word of God? Terrible.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid