Around 340,000 people have gathered in Vatican Square to attend the inauguration mass for the new Pope. Francis, formerly known as Jorge Mario Borgoglio, chosen last week by his fellow cardinals, has already begun his Papal address, which he is delivering in Italian, a day after his first tweet from the @Pontifex account, started by his predecessor, Benedict, but mothballed after the latter’s shock resignation last month.
Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me.Pope Francis.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 17, 2013
Time has him down as a soccer-loving–he is, after all, Argentine–tango-dancing man who sought solace in the church after having his heart broken by a woman called Amalia.
— TIME.com (@TIME) March 19, 2013
Francis, who is the first non-European Pontiff in over a millennium–the last was Syrian Pope Gregory, back in 741AD–has already chosen his Fisherman’s Ring. Rather than being made of solid gold, it is gold-plated silver and second hand, and seems to be in keeping with the expected focus of his papacy, on social injustice in the world.
— Roderick Vonhogen (@FatherRoderick) March 18, 2013
Many of the world’s leaders are at this morning’s ceremony, including Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, who has said she wants Francis to sort out the troublesome issue of the Falkland Islands. Situated in the southwest Atlantic, they currently have British sovereignty, but Argentina is fighting a hard campaign to have them returned to her.
Argentina seeks intervention from Pope Francis in Falklands dispute with U.K | bloom.bg/143Chm2
— Bloomberg News (@BloombergNews) March 18, 2013
The British PM, David Cameron, is not attending the mass–although neither is President Obama, who has sent Joe Biden in his place. Perhaps Cameron has missed a trick, or maybe he just read the story about the Pope’s alleged complicit behavior during the rule of the Argentine Military Junta in the 1970s and 1980s.