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Pope Francis has delivered the Angelus prayer and blessing before a crowd of many thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square in Rome, the BBC reports. The Pope also delivered off-the-cuff remarks, about God’s power to forgive, instead of reading a written speech. It was the Pope’s second official appearance before the general public since he was elected on Wednesday. Earlier, he celebrated his first Sunday mass as pontiff in the Vatican’s small and simple parish church. Speaking on Saturday, Pope Francis emphasised that he wanted “a poor Church, for the poor”. At the end of the Sunday Mass, he waited outside the church and greeted people as they left, like a parish priest, asking many of them to, “pray for me”.Later, just a few minutes after delivering the Angelus, Pope Francis sent his first Tweet as pontiff, writing: “Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me”. The first 48 hours of the pontificate of Pope Francis have given the world a foretaste of what it is going to be like to have a Jesuit priest for the first time in history as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholic believers.
Minutes after the election result was declared in the Sistine Chapel, a Vatican official called the Master of Ceremonies offered to the new Pope the traditional papal red cape trimmed with ermine that his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI gladly wore on ceremonial occasions.“No thank you, Monsignore,” Pope Francis is reported to have replied. “You put it on instead. Carnival time is over!” It was just one small sign out of many this week that as Massimo Franco, one of Italy’s shrewdest political editorial writers, commented in the Corriere Della Sera, “the era of the Pope-King and of the Vatican court is over”. You only had to look at the shocked faces of many of the courtiers when they suddenly realised the significance of what had happened and understood that it really was over.Another moment of truth occurred when Pope Francis broke the seals of the Papal Apartment in the Apostolic Palace to take possession of his new home.
Vatican officials genuflected and bowed as Archbishop George Gaenswein, secretary of the now retired Pope Benedict but still master of the papal household, searched for the light switch while the Pope stood motionless for a moment, outlined in the dark, surveying the scene. “There’s room for 300 people here,” he’s reported to have remarked. “I don’t need all this space.”