Rome (dpa) – pope franciscus officially took office as head of the catholic church in front of tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists. Following a solemn rite, the new pope received the traditional fisherman's ring and the pallium, a kind of scarf, on tuesday in peters square. The 76-year-old argentinean is the 266th person to be tested. Pope of the universal church and successor to the resigned benedict XVI.
Cardinal dean angelo sodano presented the new pope with a gold-plated silver ring, while protodeacon jean-louis tauran put on a woolen scarf. The pallium had already worn benedict. The presentation of the papal insignia marks the beginning of the pontificate. Representing all the cardinals, six purple bearers then solemnly pledged their obedience to francis.
Francis said in his homily that it was also his task to "embrace with love and tenderness all humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least of all." in the face of numerous stretches of gray skies, we are all called to "let the star of hope shine: let us cherish with love what god has given us"!" every part of god and the environment must be respected, said the argentinean, who borrowed his papal name from st. Francis of assisi.
"Let us not allow signs of destruction and death to accompany the path of this world of ours", francis summoned the crowd in st. Peter's square and the political and ecclesiastical representatives in attendance. Unfortunately, in every era there are people like herod "who plot death, destroy and disfigure the face of man." but hatred, envy and arrogance contaminate life.
Before mass, people cheered the new man in the chair of petri as he drove through the crowd in an open jeep, burying them in sunny weather. A sea of flags from around the world and banners could be seen in the square in front of st. Peter's cathedral, where 150,000 to 200,000 people gathered, according to the vatican.
Dozens of presidents, heads of government, high-ranking representatives of the royal houses and other churches have traveled to rome for his inauguration. Francis had been elected six days ago as the successor to benedict XVI. Who had stepped down for reasons of age.