VATICAN CITY (AP) — In his first Mass as pontiff, Pope Francis has displayed his informal style as a pastor. He delivered an off-the-cuff homily in the Sistine Chapel today about the need to walk with God, build up his church and confess. He referred at one point to children building sand castles on the beach.
It was a far simpler message than the three-page discourse delivered in Latin by his predecessor, Pope Benedict, during his first Mass as pope in 2005.
At the start of today's Mass, Francis spoke with the Vatican's master of liturgical ceremonies, Monsignor Guido Marini. Under Pope Benedict, Marini ushered in a far more traditional style of liturgy. Vatican officials confirm that Marini was somewhat put off by Francis' refusal last night to wear the formal papal red cape when he emerged on the balcony over St. Peter's Square.
The new pope's authorized biographer says the difference in style between Francis and his predecessor reflects his belief that the Catholic Church needs to be at one with the people it serves -- rather than imposing its message on a society that often doesn't want to hear it.
228-a-04-(Pope Francis, during Mass inside Sistine Chapel)-"spiritu sancti, Amen"-Pope Francis says the Sign of the Cross, in Latin, at the start of Mass in the Sistine Chapel. (14 Mar 2013)
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229-r-35-(Sound of cardinals and choir, singing Kyrie Eleison (ay-LAY'-ee-sohn), translated as "Lord Have Mercy")--Sound of singing of Kyria Eleison, near the beginning of Pope Francis' Mass in the Sistine Chapel. (14 Mar 2013)
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GRAPHICSBANK: Pope Francis kneels in prayer in front of the icon of the Virgin Mary inside St. Mary Major Basilica, Rome, Italy, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano photo on texture, partial graphic (14 Mar 2013)
GRAPHICSBANK: POPE FRANCIS greets crowd from St. Peter's Basilica central balcony after being elected, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano photo on texture with lettering, finished graphic (13 Mar 2013)
APPHOTO LON813: In this image made from video provided by CTV, Pope Francis celebrates his inaugural Mass with cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, Thursday, March 14, 2013. As the 266th pope, Francis inherits a Catholic church in turmoil, beset by the clerical sex abuse scandal, internal divisions and dwindling numbers in parts of the world where Christianity had been strong for centuries. (AP Photo/CTV) (14 Mar 2013)
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