Francis at inaugural Mass: Pope
must be servant, 'inspired by lowly'
تكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة معاينة الأبعاد الأصلية.
Pope Francis kisses the altar after celebrating his inaugural
Mass on Tuesday in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS/Paul Haring) تكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة معاينة الأبعاد الأصلية.
Pope Francis greets the crowd Tuesday before celebrating his
inaugural Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS/Paul Haring)
Francis greets the crowd in St. Peter's Square before celebrating his inaugural
Mass at the Vatican March 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March
19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)تكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة معاينة الأبعاد الأصلية.
A view from the crowd during Tuesday's papal inaugural Mass. (NCR
photo/Joshua J. McElwee)Vatican City
Among a crowd of an estimated 200,000 people
gathered from around the world, Pope Francis on Tuesday inaugurated the
beginning of his ministry with a meditation on the model of St. Joseph and the
power -- and limits -- of the papacy.
تكبير الصورةتصغير الصورة معاينة الأبعاد الأصلية.
Standing behind a lectern from a raised red carpet
platform and looking out from St. Peter's Basilica for the homily during the
Mass, Francis acknowledged he is the 265th successor of Peter, which he said
"involves a certain power" given by Christ to Peter.
But what sort of power was it?" the new pope
asked, looking up from his prepared remarks at the crowd in front of him.
Let us never forget that authentic power is
service," Francis continued after a pause. "The pope, too, when exercising
power, must enter ever more fully into that service, which has its radiant
culmination on the cross."
The pope, Francis continued, "must be inspired by
the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked St. Joseph."
Like him, he must open his arms to protect all of
God's people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially
the poorest, the weakest, the least important," he said. "Only those who serve
with love are able to protect."
The last line referred to St. Joseph, whose feast
day is Tuesday and whom the pope continually referred to as a "protector," both
of the Holy Family and of the church.
But even protectors, the pope said, need to show a
In the Gospels, St. Joseph appears as a strong
and courageous man, a working man," Francis said.
Yet in his heart, we see great tenderness, which
is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a
capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love,"
he continued. "We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness."
For several in the crowd, the first days of
Francis' papacy have already evoked a tenderness that they connect with.
He seems like he's really going to be focused on
people and bringing people together," said Kathy Olow, a U.S. native who now
lives with her husband, Alex, and two children near Naples, Italy. They traveled
150 miles north to Rome for the inauguration.
He's very down-to-earth," Olow continued. "He's
simple and meager."
He's humble," said Alex Olow. "That would be the
word. He's a humble man."
Among those at Tuesday's inauguration were an
estimated 131 delegations from countries around the world, including U.S. Vice
President Joe Biden and Argentine President Cristina Fernández de
Before arriving at the foot of St. Peter's
Basilica for the Mass, Francis toured the crowd in an open-air vehicle, his
right arm extended in an open wave. As he neared certain sections of the crowd,
some screamed, "Francesco," others, "Viva il papa."
At one point, the pope, wearing only a white
cassock and the pope's traditional elbow-length cape, stepped out of the vehicle
to greet a disabled man at the barricades set up to leave a path for him.
Ending the tour of the crowd, the pope entered St.
Peter's to pray at the crypt of the tomb of the apostle Peter, where his remains
are believed to be. Proceeding toward the crypt, the pope wore a white miter
with brown trim and a simple white chasuble with one stripe down the
As he knelt before the crypt, several leaders of
both Eastern Rite Catholic and Orthodox churches joined him. For the first time
since the schism between the Western and Eastern churches in the year 1054, the
ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, attended the papal
Brian Flanagan, an American theologian, said the
presence of the eastern leaders showed Francis has "a different understanding of
the papacy" than his predecessors.
By praying with the Eastern patriarchs and major
archbishops and not solely with his fellow cardinals, Francis underlines the
theological ... equality of those churches with the Latin/Western church," said
Flanagan, an assistant professor of theology at Marymount University in
Unlike Pope Benedict XVI, whose renunciation of
the papacy Feb. 28 eventually led to Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's
election as Pope Francis on March 13, the new pope did not wear his miter during
the homily and spoke standing instead of seated.
Make no mistake about it -- this is a liturgical
revolution," said Benedictine Fr. Anthony Ruff, an associate professor of
theology at Saint John's University in Minnesota. "And no one saw it
Ruff said Francis preaches "like a simple parish
priest -- at the ambo, not the chair, and without miter," noting that at a Mass
last week, the pope also did not wear his miter during his homily.
It will be interesting to see, in this age of
instant communication, whether those bishops who have begun preaching with miter
and crosier will dial it all back in imitation of Pope Francis," Ruff, who also
runs the blog PrayTell, said.
For many in the crowd Tuesday, however, the focus
wasn't on liturgical points but on more basic points of connection.
Krystal Montesdeoca, who was attending the Mass
with a group from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign said the
beginning of Francis' papacy aligns with a new interest in the Catholic
Montesdeoca, who said she was raised Catholic but
had not been practicing for some time before encountering the Newman Center at
her university, said Francis' interest in the poor "really helps me understand
I love that he's a humble man and about helping
the poor," she said.
Fr. David Charters, a priest of the diocese of
Shrewsbury, England, said he was encouraged by the presence of Bartholomew I at
It's a simple and humble reflection of the unity
of the Christian faith," said Charters, a student at the Pontifical
Ecclesiastical Academy, a college in Rome dedicated to training priests to serve
in the Vatican diplomatic corps.
The leader of Constantinople should be here,"
Charters said, standing among several other priests from the academy. "It's a
sign of charity among all the Christian churches."
As Francis began his homily Tuesday, he addressed
the crowd -- dignitaries included -- as "brothers and sisters," a way he has
been addressing people in each of his public appearances since March 13.
Francis also said the fact that they were
celebrating his inauguration on the feast of St. Joseph was a "significant
coincidence," as Joseph is Pope Benedict's birth name.
We are close to him with our prayers, full of
affection and gratitude," Francis said of his predecessor.
Francis also said Joseph's example as protector of
the church should extend to humanity's protection of creation.
Being a protector, the pope said, is not just a
Christian calling, but also "has a prior dimension which is simply human,
It means respecting each of God's creatures and
respecting the environment in which we live," Francis said. "It means protecting
people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children,
the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about."
In the end, everything has been entrusted to our
protection, and all of us are responsible for it," he continued. "Be protectors
of God's gifts."
As he concluded his homily, Francis invoked the
intercession of Mary, Joseph, Peter, Paul and St. Francis of Assisi before
ending: "I ask all of you to pray for me. Amen."
Among dozens of flags in the crowd were those of
Argentina, Brazil, the United States, Turkey, France, Iran, Spain, China and the
United Kingdom. Many in the crowd also held signs. One, signed "Colombia," read
in Spanish: "Francis, friend of peace."
As he said the words of consecration for the Mass,
Francis kept his voice at a low volume, almost hard to hear at points, and did
not give inflection to any of the words.
He also did not distribute Communion to the crowd,
instead having an estimated 500 priests and deacons walk in the square with
yellow and white umbrellas so they could be seen by people there.
Kenneth Howell, a retired theology professor
leading the student group from the University of Illinois, said he thought the
new pope could help "guide the church into a simpler life."
We appreciate all the beauty and the art of the
church, but in the end our Catholic lives are called to be simple," Howell said.
"He'll provide us with a good example."
Asked what hope he has for Francis' papacy, Howell
said, "I would like to see him help us and guide us in terms of finding creative
ways to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
This is the time in history when the laity are
called and want to fully participate in the mission of the church," he said. "I
think he understands the clericalism in the church."
But at the same time, he's deeply rooted in the
good traditions of the church," Howell continued. "You need to be rooted in
Two Argentine women, standing next to each other
during the Mass, said they were just hopeful to see Bergoglio, formerly the
archbishop Buenos Aires, as pope.
The women, both from Buenos Aires but currently
living in Washington, D.C., held up Argentine and U.S. flags.
Asked what they thought of their former bishop and
current pontiff, one responded in broken English: "It's very, very important. He