Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Pope Francisco Enthroned

00 Pope Francisco Bergoglio. 19.03.13

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On Tuesday, Pope Francisco Bergoglio was enthroned in the Vatican as the 266th Pope of Rome. After accepting the key symbols of the papacy… the Fisherman’s Ring and the pallium… the pope, former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio addressed the thousands of believers gathered in St Peter’s Square, many of whom waited hours for the ceremony and a glimpse of the new pope. Pope Francisco, clad in white papal robes, looked slightly embarrassed as he toured the square in his open popemobile, with the usual bulletproof glass screens removed. He gave his greetings to all who approached him. Even at such a time, the head of the entire Catholic world did an amazing thing. Seeing a disabled man, he ordered the car to pull over, and he got out to greet him. The crowd burst into a storm of applause.

Ricardo, a self-described staunch atheist, shared his impressions of the pope’s inauguration with VOR, “I’ve always been remote from religion and faith. However, when the conclave elected Pope Francisco, and when I saw him on television, it deeply affected me. That’s why I decided to come here today… to greet the new pope. For me, it’s a historic moment, and it may even be a turning point in my life”. There were flags of many countries, greetings in hundreds of languages, smiles of joy wreathed every face in sight… then, the gathered crowd began to shout, “Viva il Papa Francisco! (Long Live Pope Francisco!)”. His presence seemed to revive the faith and hopes of all those present on the Square. Firanella, a resident of Venice, was very excited and emotional as she said, “I admire him so much that I don’t have the words to express it. Until now, I was very critical of faith and religion, so, I almost never went to church, but now I’ve decided to come back to faith definitively. Pope Francisco led me back”.

One could watch the entire inauguration in St Peter’s Basilica on large screens installed in the square. One could see the solemn procession of the cardinals, the vesting of the new pope in his papal vestments, and the prayer of Pope Francisco at the tomb of Apostle St Peter. Later, on the square itself, in a modest ceremony, Pope Francisco received the principal symbols of his office… the Fisherman’s Ring and the papal pallium. The Fisherman’s Ring made for Pope Francisco isn’t made of solid gold, it’s fashioned from gold-plated silver. Sceptics dismissed the pontiff’s modesty as an affectation. They said that it was only a sham… done to appeal to the hoi polloi. Others feared that Pope Francisco is a reformer who might try to change Catholic doctrine gradually. However, the majority are convinced that he’s a modest man in actuality, that he’s truly simple and unpretentious. After all, Francisco’s still taken aback by all the adulation directed at him. If believers expect any change, it’s only change for the better.

Louis is a seminarian from the Congo, he’s in Rome for the first time, but he’s not as anxious to see the Eternal City as he is to see the pope, he said, “I’m very happy that Pope Francisco is on the throne. He’s a simple and compassionate person. That’s what our church should be like. I’m sure that Pope Francisco will return the Catholic world to Christian traditions and strengthen our faith in Christ”. Clarissa is from Gabon in Central Africa, and she said, “He’ll continue the tradition of his predecessors John Paul II and Benedict XVI. He won’t allow same-sex marriage, abortion, or euthanasia. That’s impossible… not because the pope doesn’t want it, but it’s impossible because God doesn’t want it. After all, God installed our pope”.

After the inauguration, Pope Francisco served a Holy Mass of Thanksgiving, attended by official delegations from more than 180 countries. His first appeal to believers began with, “Keep Christ in your hearts!” In his inaugural homily, he spoke these words of peace and charity, “To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves… this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet, it’s one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!” After the end of the liturgy, bells throughout Rome rang out in a cacophonous tribute.

Milena Faustova19 March 2013

Milena Faustova

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_03_19/Pope-Francis-enthroned/

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2013_03_19/Intronizacija-papi-Franciska-266-go-pontifika-VIDEO-FOTO/

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