Pope on a bus! Francis shows he’s still a man of the people as he hops on board minibus to church on his first day on the job
The Pope has today shown he really is a man of the people after he shunned a chauffeur-driven Vatican car to take the bus instead.
It is believed the picture was taken when the Pope travelled from the Vatican hotel to say mass at the Sistine Chapel.
In the few days since he was elected, Pope Francis has shown many instances of his down-to-earth and humble nature.
Humble: Pope Francis, left, is seen aboard a minibus with other Cardinals at the Vatican, the day after his election
Suits you: Pope Francis deemed a bus to be most suitable as he travelled to say mass at the Vatican
After staying at clerical residence prior to the voting in the conclave, Pope Francis insisted on returning and paying the bill as well as wanting to thank staff for their hospitality.
Many have said that the new pontiff is opposite to his predecessor Benedict XVI in that he is already approaching the job in a less traditional and more informal manner.
At his first homily, he gave an informative and educational homily to the Cardinal, not in Latin, but in Italian.
And when he emerged on the balcony of St Peter’s after being voted as the new head of the Catholic Church, he greeted the crowd by simply saying: ‘Brothers and Sisters, good evening.’
Do for me: The Pope was content enough to travel in less-luxurious style than perhaps other Pontiffs had been used to
History: Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (R), now Pope Francis, is pictured travelling by subway in Buenos Aires
During his time as an archbishop in Beunos Aires he was often known to take the bus when travelling to some of the poorest areas to say mass.
He also chose to live in a small apartment, shunning more luxurious residence.
Meanwhile The Vatican has lashed out at what it called a ‘defamatory’ campaign to discredit Pope Francis over claims he turned a blind eye to Argentina’s murderous dictatorship.
‘There has never been a credible, concrete accusation against him,’ said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, adding he had never been charged.
The denial over Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ came after Pope Francis spent the morning with his cardinals in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace.
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The newly appointed Pope Francis stumbled after being introduced to the College of Cardinals, but did not fall and quickly recovered
The 76-year-old stumbled while stepping down from the altar to greet the cardinals – it looked like his left shoe had become entangled in his flowing white robe.
He quickly regained his footing, but not before his trip was captured for the world to see.
While the former Jorge Mario Bergoglio, like most other Argentines, failed to openly confront the dictatorship during 1976-1983, human rights activists differ on how much responsibility he personally deserves.
The Vatican spokesman the Rev Federico Lombardi noted today that a Jesuit who was kidnapped during the dictatorship in a case that involved Bergoglio had issued a statement earlier in the day saying the two had reconciled.
Lombardi also noted that Argentine courts had never accused Bergoglio of any crime and that on the contrary, there is ample evidence of the role he played protecting people from the military as it kidnapped and killed thousands of people in a ‘dirty war’ to eliminate leftist opponents.
He said the accusations were made long ago ‘by anti-clerical left-wing elements to attack the church and must be decisively rejected.’
The most damning accusation against Bergoglio is that as the military junta took over in 1976, he withdrew his support for two slum priests whose activist colleagues in the liberation theology movement were disappearing.
The priests were then kidnapped and tortured at the Navy Mechanics School, which the junta used as a clandestine prison.
Introduction: Pope Francis meets the Cardinals for the first time after his election, at the Vatican today
Words of wisdom: Pope Francis urged leaders of a Roman Catholic Church driven by scandal and crisis never to give in to discouragement, bitterness or pessimism but to keep focused on their mission
He said Benedict had ‘lit a flame in the depths of our hearts that will continue to burn because it is fueled by his prayers that will support the church on its missionary path’
Good humour: He noted that half of the cardinals attending were elderly saying ‘Let us give this wisdom to young people; like good wine, it becomes better with age’
Bergoglio said he had told the priests – Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics – to give up their slum work for their own safety, and they refused. Yorio later accused Bergoglio of effectively delivering them to the death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work. Yorio is now dead.
Jalics, who had maintained silence about the events, today issued a statement saying he had spoken to Bergoglio years later, that the two had celebrated Mass together and hugged ‘solemnly.’
‘I am reconciled to the events and consider the matter to be closed,’ he said.
Bergoglio in 2010 revealed his side of the story to his official biographer Sergio Rubin: that he had gone to extraordinary, behind-the-scenes lengths to save the men.
The Jesuit leader persuaded the family priest of feared dictator Jorge Videla to call in sick so that he could say Mass instead. Once inside the junta leader’s home, Bergoglio privately appealed for mercy, Rubin wrote.
Prayer: Faithfuls hold their daily prayer at St.Peter’s at the Vatican, two days after the new Pope was elected
Lombardi said the airing of the accusations in recent days in the press following Francis’ election was ‘characterised by a campaign that’s often slanderous and defamatory.’
Lombardi’s statement was delivered after Pope Francis held a meeting with his cardinals in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace.
His down-to-earth nature was reiterated when he noted that half of the cardinals attending were elderly saying ‘Let us give this wisdom to young people; like good wine, it becomes better with age.’
But first days are all about making a good impression – even when you’re the Pope.
So when the appearance of a disgraced cardinal threatened to cast a shadow over his first engagement, Francis I made sure it couldn’t happen again – by banning him from his own church.
Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston in 2002, after being accused of actively covering up for a litany of paedophile priests.‘
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Despite the scandal which exploded to engulf the entire church, he was given an honorary position at the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, in Rome.
Though now retired, the cardinal still enjoys a grace and favour apartment in the cathedral complex.
So hearing that the new Pope was offering prayers at the very same church, it seems he couldn’t resist a discreet peak.
But when Pope Francis recognised him, he immediately ordered that Law be removed, according to Italian media reports. He went on to command: ‘He is not to come to this church any more.’
One of the new Pope’s first acts will be to arrange new ‘cloistered’ accommodation for the disgraced cardinal, the Italian daily, Il Fatto Quotidiano, reported.
The firm stance was greeted with cautious enthusiasm by campaigners for victims of sexual abuse. David Clohessey of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said: ‘If he is permanently banned we are slightly encouraged.
Warm welcome: Newly elected Pope Francis and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina waves from the steps of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome yesterday
‘It was beyond disgraceful in the first place that Law, who ignored, concealed and enabled heinous crimes against children, was ever given this position in Rome, the centre of Catholicism.’
This morning Pope Francis paid a heartfelt tribute to his predecessor Benedict XVI saying his faith and teaching had ‘enriched and invigorated’ the Catholic Church and would remain its spiritual patrimony forever.
He said Benedict had ‘lit a flame in the depths of our hearts that will continue to burn because it is fueled by his prayers that will support the church on its missionary path.’
Pope Francis offered the respects during an audience with the cardinals who elected him to succeed Benedict, whose resignation set in motion the extraordinary conclave that brought the first prelate from the New World and first Jesuit to the papacy.
Speaking at times off the cuff, Pope Francis looked comfortable in his new role – earlier this week he toasted the cardinals who had just elected him by joking, ‘May God forgive you for what you’ve done.
Moving in: Pope Francis takes possession of his apartment at the Apostolic Palace
Squaring up: Pope Francis pays his bill at the Casa del Clero residence after being named as the new leader
New start: Pope Francis tests out his new apartment
That’s not the pope mobile: Pope Francis I on a bus with his Cardinals yesterday
Pope Francis has said he wants to visit Benedict at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, where he has been living since he resigned February 28, becoming the first pope in 600 years to step down.
No date has been set for the visit. He is due to be installed as pope officially on Tuesday.
Pope Francis has urged fellow Argentines: ‘Don’t come to Rome to see me. Save your money and spend it on the poor.’
The newly-elected spiritual leader, famed for his humility, made his wishes known in a letter to the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina.
Buenos Aires-born Jorge Bergoglio is due to hold his inaugural mass on Tuesday after being chosen as the new 266th head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Bergoglio, the first Jesuit pope, has been described as a man who cooks for himself and takes public transport rather than using cars.
New leader: A man looks at copies of Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, near the Vatican
Worship: A picture of newly elected Pope Francis is displayed for sale in a newspaper kiosk near the Vatican
And last night he stayed true to his image as a friend of the poor by urging Argentines to think twice before booking flights to Italy.
Emil Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio to Argentina, revealed the plea in a letter Pope Francis sent him.
He said today ‘Instead of going to Rome for the inaugural mass, he wants people to continue with that much-appreciated close spiritual union, accompanying it with a gesture of charity towards the most needy.’
Today Argentine footballers were celebrating after their countryman Jorge Bergoglio was named as Pope.
Stars including Leo Messi, Sergio Aguero and Javier Mascherano congratulated the new pontiff on his appointment.
Pope Francis, known in Spanish as Francisco, is a massive soccer fan and Argentinians hope his influence will help them win the World Cup next year.
Barcelona star Messi, 25, said through his charity: ‘His holiness Francisco, the Leo Messi Foundation wishes you positive energy to guide the Catholic people.’
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, 24, tweeted: ‘The Pope is Argentinian. Such pride!’
Former Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano, now with Barcelona, tweeted a photo of Pope Francis and wrote: ‘Welcome Francisco!!!!’.