News / Europe

Pope Francis Meets With College of Cardinals

Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, meets cardinals in the Clementine Hall in a picture released by Osservatore Romano at the Vatican, March 15, 2013.
Newly elected Pope Francis I, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, meets cardinals in the Clementine Hall in a picture released by Osservatore Romano at the Vatican, March 15, 2013.
VOA News
Pope Francis held an audience Friday with the men who elected him, telling the College of Cardinals not to give way to "pessimism."

The 76-year-old pontiff also told the elderly cardinals who gathered in Vatican City's Clementine Hall to greet him that age is "the seat of the wisdom of life" which should be passed on to young people.

Before his formal installation as pope on Tuesday, Pope Francis, a native of Argentina and the world's first Latin American pope, is also expected to meet with journalists Saturday. On Sunday he will appear at the window of the papal apartment to recite the Angelus prayer with crowds of worshipers in St. Peter's Square below.

Watch related video by VOA's Jeff Seldin:

Vatican Emphasizes Image of a Pope of the Peoplei
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March 15, 2013 7:34 PM
Enthusiasm over the selection of Pope Francis as leader of the Catholic Church has yet to wane, and the Vatican seems to be using the opportunity to try to cement the pontiff's image as a pope of the people. VOA'S Jeff Seldin has more.

Meanwhile, the Vatican on Friday rejected as "defamatory" accusations that the newly-elected pontiff, the former Jorge Mario Bergoglio, did not do enough to oppose Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship.  

Among charges are that Bergoglio, who was the Jesuit leader in Argentina during that period, failed to protect two fellow Jesuit priests kidnapped and tortured by the junta.

One of the two priests, Francisco Jalics, says he later reconciled with Bergoglio.  The other priest has since died.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said the accusations were part of a leftist "anti-clerical" campaign and must be rejected.

Pope Francis began his first full day as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics Thursday with prayers and a celebration of Mass with the cardinals who elected him.

He has set the tone for his papacy by wearing simple garments and avoiding the more luxurious trappings of the papacy. Earlier Thursday, he took a plain Vatican car to a basilica devoted to the Virgin Mary to pray. He later stopped by a Vatican hotel to pick up his belongings and paid the bill himself.

Pope Francis's formal inauguration Tuesday will be attended by foreign delegations, including a U.S. delegation led by Vice President Joe Biden, who is a Catholic.

Pope Francis succeeds Benedict, who is now known as pope emeritus.

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.

Argentines are ecstatic about the selection of the first pope from their country, as were Hispanics in the rest of Latin America and elsewhere.

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

Pope Francis, like the 13th century saint whose name he has chosen - St. Francis of Assisi - is noted for his humility and commitment to social issues.

The new pope has been criticized in Argentina for his firm opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. In addition, 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.

Pope Francis succeeds Benedict, who is now known as pope emeritus.

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.

Argentines are ecstatic about the selection of the first pope from their country, as were Hispanics in the rest of Latin America and elsewhere.

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

Pope Francis, like the 13th century saint whose name he has chosen, St. Francis of Assisi, is noted for his humility and commitment to social issues.

The new pope has been criticized in Argentina for his firm opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. In addition, a complaint was once filed there claiming he failed to denounce atrocities committed by Argentina's military government between 1976 and 1983.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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