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POPE LIVE: New pope chosen, glee in Latin America

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | 7:29 p.m. CDT; updated 6:53 a.m. CDT, Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pope Live follows the choice of the new pope as seen by journalists from The Associated Press around the world. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest.

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WINNING OVER ROMANS

Before they even saw his face, Pope Francis had already won over the Roman masses.

The announcement that he would be known by the same name as St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of Italy, sent the crowd into ecstasy.

He did even better with his first words, when Francis said the cardinals had reached to the "end of the earth" to find the bishop of Rome — recalling the beloved Pope John Paul II, a Polish cardinal who told his first crowd in 1978 that cardinals had called him "from a far country."

The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is the son of an Italian immigrant and his Italian is only lightly accented.

— Victor L. Simpson

ONE CATHOLIC'S THOUGHTS

After Francis was chosen as pope, AP's Stacey Plaisance caught up with Robert Stanley, a Catholic native of Chicago and a freshman at the University of Notre Dame. Stanley is enjoying his first trip to New Orleans and was eating lunch at a cafe near St. Patrick's Church downtown when the news broke.

Here's some of his reaction:

  • "It's good for the Church. I was worried we'd have another Italian pope. Italy controls so much of the Church. They don't need to control the papacy too."
  • "In South America, they are extremely dedicated in a way you don't see in the U.S., Italy or in France. They have pilgrimages where they literally crawl for miles. They are very dedicated, devout and pious. "
  • "It's a new face, and I feel like he will have a greater appreciation for the problems of the developing world, in places like Africa, India and South America. It's bigger-picture issues, and that's the purpose of the Church, to help the naked, the hungry, those most in need."

— Stacey Plaisance — twitter.com/splaisance

QUICK QUOTE: 'COMMON GOALS'

"We share many common goals — from the promotion of peace, social justice and human rights, to the eradication of poverty and hunger — all core elements of sustainable development."

— U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

A NAME WITH CACHET

"Francis" is a name that carries a lot of cachet in Italy.

St. Francis of Assisi is one of Italy's patron saints. The Umbrian hill town of Assisi, where the saint lived a humble life of poverty, is one of Italy's major draws for pilgrims and other tourists. It is also associated with world peace movements.

St. Francis Xavier is another noted evangelist and a prominent Jesuit missionary. The new Pope Francis is one of the Jesuit order's most prominent members.

— Frances D'Emilio — twitter.com/fdemilio

ONE OF THE FAMILY

In Cuba, parish priest Gregorio Alvarez says he believes Pope Francis' background could lead the Roman Catholic Church to focus more on the ills afflicting humanity, and less on internal issues.

"One hopes that the church will be closer to the problems of humankind and not only the problems of the church," Alvarez says.

"Being Latin American gives him an advantage — he understands the problems of poverty, of violence, of manipulation of the masses," he says. "All that gives him experience for the job. ... He's one of the family."

— Anne-Marie Garcia — twitter.com/AnneMarie279

RIGHT FOR THE JOB?

Tess Ernest, a volunteer at the Saint Francis Xavier church in El Paso, Texas, says Pope Francis's background will help him undertake the task before him.

"Jesuits are missionaries and educators but also very good administrators and that is what the Church needs now," she says.

A Jesuit might be the right man for the job "after all that has happened in the Church."

MESSI AND POPE

In Miami's Little Buenos Aires, Argentines broke out into cheers and applause as the new pope was announced.

"Long live Argentina!" some shouted. "God is Argentina!" cried others.

"We have Messi and we have the pope now," says Gabriela Pisquariello, an owner of the Buenos Aires Bakery & Cafe, referring to star Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi.

— Christine Armario — twitter.com/cearmario

PAPAL DRAMA

Pope Francis' transition will be much smoother than others in the pontificate's bumpy two-millennium history.

  • In 897, Pope Stephen VI hated his deceased predecessor, Pope Formosus, so much he had his minions dig up his corpse. The new pope then held a mock trial for the old one, stripped the corpse of its vestments, cut off the two fingers that bestowed papal blessings and threw the body into the Tiber — before he himself was strangled to death.
  • Pope Sergius III in the 10th century seized the papacy through armed force, and he had his imprisoned predecessor, Pope Leo V, strangled.
  • Alexander VI won the papacy just before the 16th-century Protestant Reformation by bribing cardinals and promising lucrative jobs. The cardinals who elected his successor included his illegitimate son.

JUST FRANCIS

The Vatican says the new pope's official name is Pope Francis, without a Roman numeral.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, sought to clear up any possible confusion, noting that Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who announced the name to the world, said simply "Francis." It is also listed that way in the first Vatican bulletin on the new pope.

"It will become Francis I after we have a Francis II," Lombardi quipped.

SEASONED PASTOR

In choosing a 76-year-old pope, the cardinals clearly decided that they didn't need a vigorous, young pope who would reign for decades but rather a seasoned, popular and humble pastor who would draw followers to the faith.

— Nicole Winfield — twitter.com/nwinfield

SPEECHLESS IN PUERTO RICO

At the St. Francis of Assisi church in the colonial Old San Juan district in Puerto Rico, church secretary Antonia Veloz exchanged jubilant high-fives with Brother Jose Antonio Cruz, a Franciscan friar.

"This is something exciting," the 50-year-old Veloz says of the new Argentine pope. "I'm speechless."

— Danica Coto — twitter.com/apdcoto

SURPRISE IN THE CROWD

The flag-waving crowd at St. Peter's Square was cheering madly but many people admitted they didn't know anything about the new pope.

"I really don't know him, but it doesn't matter. We have a new pope," cried Marben Moralias from the Philippines. "God surprised us."

Federica Giusti, a 46-year-old housewife from Rome, drove to St. Peter's Square, getting there just in time to see the new pope emerge.

"I expected someone else but I'm happy anyway," she said, wiping away tears.

"I like him, I like him," Luisa Guerrera, a 45-year-old teacher from Rome, said after the pope started speaking. "I don't know him ... but he seems like a beautiful man."

— Karl Ritter — twitter.com/karl_ritter

CHAVEZ INFLUENCE?

The man Hugo Chavez tapped to succeed him as president says the socialist leader's death may have influenced the choice of a pope from South America.

"We know that our commander reached those heights and he's face to face with Christ," says Nicolas Maduro, who was sworn in as acting president on Friday.

"Something had an influence on the choosing of a South American pope. Some new hand came, and Christ said, 'South America's time has come,'" he says.

— Christopher Toothaker

INSIDE SCOOP

WikiLeaks long ago gave the inside scoop on the U.S. opinion of the new pope.

A report by the deputy chief of the U.S. Embassy in Argentina on then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was slapped onto the Internet along with roughly a quarter million other classified U.S. State Department cables.

"Observers have praised his humility: he has been reluctant to accept honors or hold high office and commutes to work on a bus," Brent Hardt says in a note before the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.

But Hardt notes that Bergoglio's membership in the Jesuit order could count against him.

"Some senior prelates, especially conservatives, are suspicious of a liberal streak in the order, perhaps most pronounced in the U.S., but also present elsewhere," Hardt writes.

— Raphael Satter — twitter.com/razhael

QUICK QUOTE: 'FACE OF GOD'

"On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis as he ascends to the Chair of Saint Peter and begins his papacy. As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than 2,000 years – that in each other we see the face of God."

— President Barack Obama

THE INSTALLATION MASS

The pope's installation mass — the first in his new role — will likely be a morning-long affair of pomp and prayer. VIPs will line the pews, with as many as some 200 foreign delegations expected.

The ceremony is traditionally held on a Sunday, when the city's streets can be closed to traffic near the Vatican.

— France D'Emilio — twitter.com/fdemilio

FRANCIS OF ASSISI

Francis, the name the new pope has chosen, is a much-beloved Italian saint who is identified with peace, poverty and a simple lifestyle.

Jorge Bergoglio is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first pontiff to adopt the name of Francis — the name of the rich young man from Assisi who renounced wealth and founded the Franciscan order of friars in 1290. The choice could foretell the pope's priorities in striving to bring a sense of serenity to the troubled church.

Choosing a name shared by one of Italy's patron saints also ties the new pope to Italy, the homeland of all popes of the last few centuries until 1978.

— Frances D'Emilio — twitter.com/fdemilio

'RIDICULOUS'

"It's ridiculous, this pomp and circumstance and smoke from the chimney. It's so archaic." Jennifer Rogers, a New Orleans resident.

— Stacey Plaisance —  twitter.com/splaisance

SECOND TRY?

Months after former Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005, excerpts of an anonymous cardinal's diary were published. Among the unverifiable revelations: Argentine Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the German's closest rival in the voting.

Now he's Benedict's successor.

— Frances D'Emilio — twitter.com/fdemilio

JOY IN BUENOS AIRES

TV presenters in Argentina screamed on the air and cars in the street blared their horns at the news that an Argentine cardinal had been chosen as the new pope.

"It's incredible!" says Martha Ruiz, 60, who was weeping with emotion in Buenos Aires after learning that the cardinal she knew as Jorge Mario Bergoglio will now be Pope Francis.

She said she had been in many meetings with him. "He is a man who transmits great serenity," she says.

QUICK QUOTE: 'END OF THE EARTH'

"You know that the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome. It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. Thank you for the welcome." — Pope Francis, addressing the crowd in St. Peter's Square.

— Nicole Winfield — www.twitter.com/nwinfield

BETTORS WRONG

Bettors gambling on Pope Benedict's replacement were very much wrong.

Argentina's Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was a consensus 25-1 underdog to be selected at the conclave, gambling expert R.J. Bell of Pregame.com says.

At least 15 names were considered ahead of Bergoglio in 12 books accepting wagers on the papal election in Europe and online outside the United States. "Everyone was paying attention to the top dozen or so favorites," Bell says.

Now, at least one online bookmaker is letting bettors speculate on Pope Francis' future. Ireland-based Paddy Power is offering 16-1 odds that Catholics will see a third pope in 2013, and 5-2 odds that Pope Francis will eventually resign.

— Oskar Garcia — twitter.com/oskargarcia

 


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