EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

March 20, 2013

Pope Francis: Protect the poor and the Earth

VATICAN CITY (AP) — After a week marked by acts of simplicity and openness, Pope Francis finally let his words do the talking as he officially began his stewardship of the Catholic Church on Tuesday.

“Please,” he implored the tens of thousands, both poor and powerful, gathered outside St. Peter’s Basilica. “Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”

It was a message Pope Francis has hinted at, but now he made it clear, as he urged the economic, political and religious leaders arrayed before him not to allow “omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world.”

On a day of warm, blue skies, the 76-year-old pope thrilled the crowd as he arrived in the sun-drenched piazza in an open-air jeep, shouting “Ciao!” to well-wishers and kissing babies handed up to him.

At one point, as he neared a group of people in wheelchairs, he signaled for the jeep to stop, hopped off and approached a disabled man held up to the barricade by his family, blessing him and then kissing him on his forehead.

It was a gesture from a man whose short papacy so far has been defined by such spontaneous forays into the crowd, which seem to surprise and concern his security guards.

The Argentine native is the first pope from Latin America and the first named for the 13th-century friar St. Francis of Assisi, whose life’s work was to care for nature, the poor and the most disadvantaged.

Some 132 official delegations attended the Mass, including more than a half-dozen heads of state from Latin America, a sign of the significance of the election for the region.

In the VIP section was U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, Taiwanese President Ying-Jeou Ma and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, among others. All told, six sovereign rulers, 31 heads of state, three princes and 11 heads of government attended, the Vatican said.

After the Mass, Francis stood in a receiving line for nearly two hours.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Fish Oil Plant Blast Kills One Two Huge Fires Burning in Northern California Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Suspect Dead, Marshals and Cop Wounded in NYC Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Arts, Humanities Awards Handed Out at WH Former Va. Governor's Corruption Trial Begins Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video $15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Maine Police Investigate Deaths of Family of 5 UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest
Latest World News
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Today in History for July 29th Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Today in History for July 28th Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 27th Thousands at Peace Rally in Tel Aviv Raw: Sirens After Explosions in Israel Video Shows Smiling American Bomber in Syria Raw: Planes With MH17 Victims Land in Eindhoven Kerry Lays Out Ceasefire Goals for Gaza Family of MH17 Victim Pay Respects at Crash Site US Evacuates Embassy in Libya Amid Clashes Raw: Tanks Patrol Gaza Streets During Ceasefire
Photos of the Week