- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Pope Francis confirmed he would be in Rio de Janeiro in July for World Youth Day and [that] he intended to visit Brazil's National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida. Catholic News Service. 03/20/13.
- Pope to Fraternal Delegates: your presence is a tangible sign of cooperation for the common good of humanity (Vatican Information Service 03/20/13). Early this afternoon in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis received fraternal delegates, that is, representative envoys of Churches, Ecclesial Communities, and international ecumenical organizations, as well as representatives of non-Christian Religions, who have come to Rome for the inauguration of his ministry as Bishop of Rome and successor of the Apostle Peter. [John Thavis provides the "highlights of Francis' talk on ecumenism and interreligious dialogue"].
- Argentinean dictatorship victim could be first figure to be beatified by Pope Francis, by Paollo Mastrolilli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 03/19/2013. Francis’ first saint will be a martyr of Argentina’s military dictatorship, if the wish he expressed before he became Pope is respected. Carlos de Dios Murias, a young Franciscan friar who was tortured and brutally murdered by a military death squad in the province of La Rioja, in 1976.
- Russian Orthodox Welcome Election of Francis [First published in Russian in Kommersant, translation provided by Daniel Nichols, Caelum Et Terra 03/20/13]:
The election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papal throne has been warmly greeted in Moscow. Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church believe that administrative disagreements between the Orthodox and Catholic churches might now be overcome. Russian Catholics are even expressing the hope that Pope Francis “will be close to contemporary Russian spirituality.”
"The new pontiff is a very distinguished church leader,” said Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, commenting on the pope’s election. “It’s probably no accident that he is the first pope to take the name of Francis – undoubtedly in honor of Francis of Assisi, who is revered in the Roman Catholic Church as an example of Christian poverty, humility and service to the poor."
- Father General on His Visit with the Pope - account of the meeting between Pope Francis and Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, which took place yesterday at the Casa Santa Marta. America 03/19/13.
- Quid est Veritas? - Fr. Simon Henry observes:
Much nonsense has been spoken in the media today concerning the Holy Father's Inauguration but among those I found most irritating was the assertion that Pope Francis "signalled his wish to get closer to his 1.2 billion followers by swapping the bullet-proof Popemobile for an open-top jeep" [and] "abandoning the bullet-proof popemobile often used by Benedict" -- I find the level of 'reporting' to be risible.
- Like Benedict, mission is Pope Francis' focus, by Bernardo Cervellera. AsiaNews.it. 03/19/13:
During a sober ceremony, wearing simple vestments, the pope shows his closeness to children and the sick. Despite their differences, both Francis and Benedict XVI are profoundly united. Insisting on the need to protect creation and preserve the human habitat, the Pope Francis calls on the powerful to choose between good and evil, without relativism. He calls for less bureaucracy and more witness and mission, talks to Taiwan's president and an Iranian minister.
- Orthodox Christians appear in St. Peter’s, by Giacomo Galeazzi. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider":
“Bergoglio was an ordinary for followers of the Orthodox rite in Argentina” and even when he was still in his own country he had excellent relations with his “separated brethren”, explains Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, a former foreign minister and Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches. Therefore “he is familiar with this tradition and respects it,” a tradition that also includes married priests. Yesterday, as well as keeping kneeling stools, the new pope handed out hosts dipped in wine at Communion, as is usual in Eastern rites.
This sends out an important message: promising continuity with Ratzinger’s liturgical reforms while paying attention to the values of the Eastern churches which could enrich Western Catholicism, in danger of stagnation, as the council of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) also warns. For the first time since 1054, the spiritual leader of the Orthodox Church and Patriarch of Constantinople attended the inauguration of the Pope (also Bishop of Rome) in St. Peter’s Square. Ecumenical diplomacy sprang into action as soon as the Argentine cardinal was elected. Bartholomew I is based in Istanbul (what was Constantinople in ancient times).
- Point of Order: Continuity, Not Rupture, Wheat and Weeds 03/19/13:
... I have to have a virtual smackdown of people who speak about Pope Francis' surprising breeches of protocol in the first few days of his papacy -- or his "unusual" sneaking out of the Vatican-- as if HE has the common touch as opposed to that cold old predecessor.
Nonsense! How soon we forget that in his first days Pope Benedict did exactly the same thing -- snuck home to his apartment, walked rather than taking the popemobile, greeted people in the street to the delight of ordinary folk and consternation of Vatican security.
- THe Black-and-White Pope, by Donald S. Prudlo. Crisis 03/20/13:
... feelings of reserve or concern upon a papal election are very common in all periods of history and such attitudes need not be characterized as anti-papal or anti-Catholic. Secondly, the vituperation that has poured from both right and left against Francis (not to mention mutual condemnations of each from the center), is both unuseful and uncharitable. Finally, there exist real concerns about the future direction of the Church, and those who make such concerns known—when they are presented in well-reasoned and charitable ways—ought not to be attacked and ostracized.
- Meeting Pope Francis, by George Weigel. First Things "On The Square" 03/20/13:
When Pope Francis stepped out onto the central loggia of St. Peter’s on the night of March 13, I thought of the man I had met in his Buenos Aires office ten months before: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., who was looking forward to laying down the burden of leadership and devoting himself to prayer, reflection and study.
Now, because Benedict XVI decided to renounce the Chair of Peter and do what Cardinal Bergoglio wanted to do, the old-school Argentine Jesuit is now Benedict’s successor. His acceptance of the cross that is the papacy was an act of humble obedience by a man who had bent his will to the divine will for over a half-century.