Note: you can find Bishop Wall’s statement on our new Pope here.
It is a joyous time as Catholics celebrate the election of their new Holy Father, Pope Francis I. Formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The new Pontiff is a man of many “firsts” for the Catholic Church – as far as Popes go, he is the first Jesuit, the first from Latin America (or indeed any of the Americas), the first from the Southern Hemisphere, the first non-European since St. Gregory III (731-741), who was from Syria.
Here is the full translation of his first statement as Pope:
“Brothers and sisters, good evening!
You know that the duty of the Conclave was to give a bishop to Rome. It seems as though my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world to get him. But here we are. I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan community of Rome has a bishop. Thank you!
Before all else, I would like to say a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us all pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may watch over him …
And now let us begin this journey, [together] as bishop and people. This journey of the Church of Rome, which is to preside over all the Churches in charity. It is a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust between us. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the world, so that a great brotherhood may be created. I hope that this journey of the Church, which we begin today and in which my Cardinal Vicar who is present here will assist me, will be fruitful for the Evangelization of this beautiful city.
And now I would like to give you my blessing. But before I do, I would like to ask you a favor: before the bishop blesses the people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that He bless me…. the prayer of the people for a blessing upon their bishop. Let us take a moment of silence for you to offer your prayer for me.”
[Silence, the Holy Father bows]
“Now I will give you my blessing and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.”
Brothers and Sisters,
I leave you now. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me. And we’ll see one another again soon. Tomorrow I want to go and pray to Our Lady, asking her to watch over Rome. Good night and have a good rest.” (translation provided by Zenit).
Many have noted the humility displayed by the new Pontiff throughout his life: during his tenure as Archbishop he reportedly eschewed a personal limousine in favor of public transportation, was in the habit of cooking his own meals, and even decided to live in a modest flat instead of a large residence. He is also well-rounded, having received a Master’s in Chemistry before studying for the priesthood, where he would eventually also become advanced in philosophy and theology.
In the midst of this Year of Faith, Catholics the world over pray for their new leader, for though he is new, he seems already to be well-loved as Il Papa.
Find more reactions and continuing coverage of Pope Francis here.