EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

March 14, 2013

New pope is 1st Francis, saint of peace, poverty

VATICAN CITY (AP) — In choosing a name no other pope had ever taken, Pope Francis could be signaling that he sees the need for change in the Roman Catholic church.

The name recalls two of the church’s most famous saints.

One is Francis of Assisi, the man from the Umbrian hill town who renounced a wealthy, dissolute lifestyle to found the Franciscan order of friars in 1209, embracing a life of poverty and simplicity and going out in the countryside to preach a message of joy and peace.

The other is Francis Xavier, a globe-trotting Spaniard who became one of Christianity’s greatest missionaries, and was a founding figure of the Jesuit order, of which the new pope is a member.

Pope Francis didn’t cite either of those famous men when he made his first public speech as pontiff on Wednesday night, but within an hour of his presentation to the world from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, his choice of name was being hailed as heralding what could be his priorities — and perhaps style — at the helm of a troubled church.

Umbria’s bishops sent congratulations in a message noting that the new pope had taken up name of the saint of Assisi, one of Italy’s patron saints who in his time sought to “renew the church.”

“It was precisely Francis the Lord asked to repair his church in ruins,” the bishops said.

Pope Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, had explained his resignation last month — the first pontiff to step down in 600 years — by saying he didn’t have the mental or physical stamina to shepherd the church, rocked by scandals and confidential leaks in the Vatican’s bureaucracy and losing many faithful to secularism or more dynamic forms of worship.

Since Francis is associated with peacemaking, the choice of name could foretell the pope’s priority to bring a sense of serenity to a church feeling rudderless by Benedict’s departure.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
World/National News

Latest U.S. News
Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Law Signed to Create NYC Municipal ID Cards 7 Killed in Mass. Apartment Fire Denver Gay Couple First to Get Marriage License Baby Hoped to Have Been Cured of HIV Relapses Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Neighbors Mourn Killing of Texas Family UN Secretary-General Urges Mideast Ceasefire Mass. Mayor: Families Lost Everything in Fire At Texas Border, a Daily Tide of Poor Migrants Four Kids, Two Adults Shot Dead Near Houston Connecticut Boy Dies Inside Parked Car World's Tallest Water Slide: See It for Yourself Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup' APNewsBreak: Different Attackers in Benghazi?
Latest World News
Today in History for July 11th Raw: Palestinian Youth Clash With Israeli Police FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Attacks Escalate Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Raw: Rescuers Push Beached Whale Back to Ocean Today in History for July 10th APNewsBreak: Different Attackers in Benghazi? Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Raw: Fans Gather for Argentina-Netherlands Match Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Typhoon Nears Japan's Main Islands Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Raw: Rocket Explodes Over Israeli Wedding Today in History for July 9th Raw: Palestinians Clash With Israeli Forces Raw: Brazil Fans Cry After World Cup Loss
Photos of the Week