- Francis vows to press Benedict's fight vs. 'dictatorship of relativism', by John Allen Jr. 03/22/13. "For those tempted to draw an overly sharp distinction between Pope Francis and his predecessor, the new pope offered a clear reminder Friday that he may have a different style than Benedict XVI, but on substance, he's cut from much the same cloth."
- Pope to Diplomatic Corps: as Pontiff, I hope that dialogue will lead us to "build bridges” between persons Vatican Information Service. 03/22/13:
... “But there is another form of poverty”, he observed. “It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the 'tyranny of relativism', which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.”
“One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is 'Pontiff', that is, a builder of bridges, with God and between people. My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced! My own origins impel me to work for the building of bridges. As you know, my family is of Italian origin; and so this dialogue between places and cultures a great distance apart matters greatly to me, this dialogue between one end of the world and the other, which today are growing ever closer, more interdependent, more in need of opportunities to meet and to create real spaces of authentic fraternity.”
Repeating that the role of religion is fundamental to this task, Francis affirmed that: “It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam. At the Mass marking the beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world. And it is also important to intensify outreach to non-believers, so that the differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail, but rather the desire to build true links of friendship between all peoples, despite their diversity.”
- Pope Francis celebrates Mass, sits in back row, by Joshua J McElwee. National Catholic Reporter 03/22/13. Pope Francis celebrated Mass Friday morning for the Vatican's gardeners and house cleaners, apparently after walking into the celebration unexpectedly and joining the group by quietly sitting among the congregation.
- Vatican security scrambling, yet prepared for pope's love of the scrum, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. 03/22/13.
- The secret report Benedict wrote for Francis, by Marco Tosatti. La Stampa "Vatican Insider" 03/22/13. "Ratzinger has left his successor a 300-page report to look through."
- Boom in confessions is a sign of the Francis effect La Stampa 03/22/13. Mgr. Crociata’s statements after the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Italian Bishops’ Conference: The Pope’s words on penitence have led many to approach the sacrament again.
- Pope Francis and the Return of Natural Law, by Samuel Gregg. 03/22/13. "Anyone who might have thought that Pope Francis’s choice of name somehow suggested that the Catholic Church was going to be led by someone who imagines Francis of Assisi to be a jolly, badly-dressed, Gaia-worshipping baby-boomer from 1972 received a severe jolt of reality today."
- Five tests of whether Pope Francis' reform of the Vatican could be real, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 03/22/13. "As soon as Holy Week wraps up, however, the focus will shift from style to substance. Hard questions will begin to be asked about whether he's capable of delivering the reform in the Vatican that many cardinals believed they were voting for in electing him."
- Pope Francis and the Christians of the Middle East, by Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. First Things "On The Square" 03/22/13.