If you want a sense of the new pontiff’s personality and his thinking, check out the brief video below from Rome Reports, featuring some candid moments from his encounter with the media on Saturday.
As CNS noted, in addition to explaining the story behind his name and his devotion to the poor, the new pope also spoke about the media and offered what may be the first papal blessing of its kind:
Pope Francis told reporters it was the Holy Spirit who led Pope Benedict XVI to resign and it is Christ, not the pope, who leads the church.
The pope acknowledged how difficult it is for many media to cover the church as a spiritual, rather than a political institution, and he offered special thanks “to those who were able to observe and recount these events in the story of the church from the most correct perspective in which they must be read, that of faith.”
The church, he said, “is the people of God, the holy people of God because it is journeying toward an encounter with Jesus Christ.”
No one can understand the church without understanding its spiritual purpose, he said. “Christ is the pastor of the church, but his presence passes through the freedom of human beings. Among them, one is chosen to serve as his vicar on earth. But Christ is the center, the focal point.”
Thanking the reporters again for all their hard work, Pope Francis also asked them to continue trying “to discover the true nature of the church and its journey through the world, with its virtues as well as its sins.”
Communications, he said, requires study, preparation and a special attention “to truth, goodness and beauty,” which is something the church has in common with journalism.
He ended his talk by telling reporters he hoped they would grow in their knowledge of “the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the reality of the church. I entrust you to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, star of the new evangelization.”
After personally greeting dozens of journalists and representatives of the Vatican press office, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Vatican newspaper and Vatican Radio, the pope came back to the microphone.
“I know that many of you are not Catholic or are not believers, so I impart my heartfelt blessing to each of you silently, respecting your consciences, but knowing that each of you is a child of God. May God bless you,” he said.
For some personal angles on the encounter, check out Sister Mary Ann Walsh’s blog. Meantime, you can see and hear the Holy Father below.