advertisement

POPE LIVE: New pope chosen, glee in Latin America

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | 6:44 p.m. CDT; updated 7:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Pope Francis became the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday at the Vatican. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Venezuela chose the name of Francis.

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.

CHALLENGES AHEAD

He has won the papacy, but there is little time for celebration.

Pope Francis takes over a Vatican plagued by scandal in its bureaucracy and under pressure over its failures to protect children from sexual abuse by priests. The Church is also losing parishioners and its influence on public life, and some Catholics face persecution and violence in parts of the Middle East and China.

Lauded for his humility and austerity, the 76-year-old from Argentina will be called upon to emulate one of his namesakes, St. Francis of Assisi, who saw his calling as trying to rebuild the church.

Francis will celebrate his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel on Thursday and will be installed officially on Tuesday, ahead of the busy Easter calendar.

His first public words to the thousands cheering in St. Peter's Square today were characteristically humble: "Thank you for the welcome."

With that, the 266th papacy has begun.

QUICK QUOTE: 'FRESH AIR'

"It will bring fresh air to the Church. ... I think the Church needs that at this time, somebody from a different zone," said the Rev. Keneth Obiekwe, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in central Louisiana, a state whose Catholic origins are reflected in its division into parishes rather than counties. He says that although he had thought the next pope might be from Latin America, he was still surprised when he turned out to be right.

— Janet McConnaughey

FRANCIS TO VISIT BENEDICT

Pope Francis will visit his predecessor Benedict XVI at the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.

U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan says Francis told fellow cardinals following the conclave that made him pope: "Tomorrow morning, I'm going to visit Benedict."

Benedict resigned on Feb. 28, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years.

A MORE CHEERFUL CONCLAVE

Arkansas est solum IV percent catholicus — or, in English, Arkansas is only 4 percent Catholic. But it does have a Pope County. In the county seat of Russellville, a Nigerian priest who leads St. John's Catholic Church says Pope Francis' election had a different feel than previous ones because the previous pontiff, Benedict XVI, is still alive.

"So this conclave took place in a good mood. The cardinals were not in grief, nobody died," says the Rev. Chuma Ibebuike.

Ibebuike says having a pope from the Americas gives hope to those who would like to see a Catholic leader from Africa or Asia. "That the leader of the whole church comes from the new church, so to say, is amazing, and I think he will really strengthen the faith of the old church," he said. "The black pope, that's what we are still waiting for."

— Jeannie Nuss — twitter.com/jeannienuss

POPE AND THE DIRTY WAR

Pope Francis has been criticized by some for his actions years ago during Argentina's "Dirty War."

Many Argentines remain angry over the Catholic Church's acknowledged failure to openly confront a right-wing dictatorship after a 1976 coup that was kidnapping and killing thousands of its citizens as it sought to eliminate "subversive elements."

Under his leadership, Argentina's bishops issued a collective apology in October 2012 for the church's failures to protect its flock during the 1970s. But the statement blamed the era's violence in roughly equal measure on both the junta and its enemies.

That statement came far too late for some activists, who accused Bergoglio of being more concerned about the church's image than about aiding human rights investigations in Argentina.

Bergoglio twice invoked his right under Argentine law to refuse to appear in court. When he eventually did testify in 2010, human rights attorney Myriam Bregman said his answers were evasive.

At least two cases directly involved Bergoglio. One examined the torture of two of his Jesuit priests — Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics — who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where they advocated liberation theology. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss it after moving into seclusion in a German monastery.

Both men were freed after Bergoglio took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them. Bergoglio never shared the details until he was interviewed for a 2010 biography.

Bergoglio — who ran Argentina's Jesuit order during the dictatorship — told his biographer that he regularly hid people on church property during the dictatorship. But all this was done in secret, at a time when church leaders publicly endorsed the junta and urged Catholics to restore their "love for country" despite the terror in the streets.

— Mike Warren — twitter.com/mwarrenap

FIRST MASS

Pope Francis is getting right to work. He will celebrate his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel on Thursday and will be installed officially as pope on Tuesday, according to the Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

BENEDICT IN THE BACKGROUND

The pope leads alone.

Benedict XVI's decision to be the first pontiff to step down in 600 years raised a host of questions about his role in the Church. But he made clear as he ended his leadership that there was no doubt who would be in charge, pledging obedience to the future pontiff.

The former pope's coat of arms was removed from a floral display in front of the Vatican's governor's palace and his fisherman's ring, an official part of the pope's regalia that features an image of St. Peter fishing from a boat, as well as the personal seals and stamps he used for official papers were destroyed.

Benedict has literally been kept out of sight. The emeritus pope has only been spotted once since retiring — in a photo snapped by a paparazzo hiding in a tree.

— Victor L. Simpson

ONE LUNG

Doctors are buzzing about the new pope having just one lung. He had one removed because of an infection as a teenager.

"It could be simply an infection that couldn't be cleared with antibiotics," or even tuberculosis, says Joe B. Putnam, chairman of thoracic surgery at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

"The key thing is he had it as a child and has probably taken very good care of himself. My hunch is that he's a lifelong nonsmoker," Putnam says. "He looked great" in the public appearance today, he added. "I don't think he's going to slow down at all."

The late actor John Wayne had a lung removed for cancer, Putnam notes: "He made seven more movies after that, including 'True Grit,' for which he won an Oscar."

Marilynn Marchione — twitter.com/MmarchioneAP

A SHEPHERD

The Rev. Enrique Ramirez, a Dominican priest in Lima, Peru, was pleased that the new pope seems less of an intellectual and more of a shepherd than his predecessor.

"The writings of Benedict XVI are marvelous because he is an intellectual. Here our new Pope Francis seems to be a bit closer to pastoral duties side, as that's what he's done all his life," he says.

QUICK QUOTE: BALTIMORE

Ann Hochman, who was picking up her daughter Jane from daycare at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen In Baltimore, said she was very excited to have a Latin American pope.

"He seems fantastic, he seems very warm," she said. "To have someone from our side of the world is pretty exciting."

— Alex Dominguez

LATIN PRIDE

Paolo Olivares, a 29-year-old seminarian from Chile, says it's very important to have a Latin American pope.

"Yes, yes, yes! I think it's a change that the church needs," he says. "I think Cardinal Bergoglio has done a great job in Argentina and he will do even better in Rome."

Maggy Pena, a 45-year-old Rome resident from the Dominican Republic, was ecstatic, jumping up and down and screaming out her pride in being Latina.

"I'm so happy because the new pope is from Latin America. That means we are a big people," she said. "For the first time we have a pope. And next we will have an American president. You'll see!"

— Karl Ritter — twitter.com/karl_ritter

QUICK QUOTE: 'BE BOLD'

"We hope that this man will be bold, will be courageous and will try to clean up the sexual abuse scandal. We feel the very first step should be to discipline the cardinals and the bishops who are complicit in the cover-up because until that happens this behavior will continue." — Barbara Dorris, victim outreach director of SNAP, or Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

— Gillian Flaccus

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," said 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


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements