In his first public act, the new Pope broke with tradition by asking the estimated 150,000 people packed into St. Peter’s Square to pray for him, rather than bless the crowd first.
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Hundreds of thousands of people filled St. Peter’s Square to welcome Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, to celebrate his inaugural mass in front of numerous heads of state from around the world.
Pope Francis rode around the square in an open-air jeep as he waved and kissed babies along the way. The pope exited the jeep at one point to bless a man who was in a wheelchair.
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Electing a pope is a political as well as a religious event. There are serious fault lines in the College of Cardinals.
Some are traditionalists, many of them in the entrenched Vatican establishment.
A top cardinal who resigned last week amid sexual abuse allegations issued an apology today and said there have been times his sexual conduct “has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, 74, the former Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, resigned last week following published reports that he made unwanted sexual advances toward four priests in Scotland in the 1980s.
O’Brien has been accused of committing “inappropriate acts” in his relations with three priests and one former priest from the diocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, British newspaper The Observer reported last Sunday.