Pope Francis explains his choice of name

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said that “as things got dangerous” in the conclave voting, he was sitting next to his “great friend” Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes “who comforted me.”

When the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio went over the 77 votes needed to become pope, he said, Cardinal Hummes “hugged me, kissed me and said, ‘Don’t forget the poor.’”

Pope Francis waves to media representatives at audience. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis waves to media representatives at audience. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis told thousands of journalists March 16 that he took to heart the words of his friend and chose to be called after St. Francis of Assisi, “the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation,” the same created world “with which we don’t have such a good relationship.”

“How I would like a church that is poor and that is for the poor,” he told the more than 5,000 media representatives who came from around the world for the conclave and his election.

Pope Francis also said some had suggested jokingly that he, a Jesuit, should have taken the name Clement XV “to get even with Clement XIV who suppressed the Society of Jesus” in the 1700s.

The pope told the media, “You’ve really been working, haven’t you.”

While the church includes a large institution with centuries of history, he said, “the church does not have a political nature, but a spiritual one.”

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.

23 Responses

  1. I’m glad he told the jounalists that the church is not a politcal entity. This man speaks clearly without long words and phrases and I believe he will be able to communicate with the whole world much better than any of his predessors or any of the theologians who speak above the abilities of the common man. He has truly been sent by the Holy Spirit.
    PLEASE GOD ENLIGHTEN YOUR “SHEEP”

  2. He truly is a breath of fresh air. The previous popes have been good, holy men, but Pope Francis seems to the courage to be straightforward while being compassionate at the same time. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for sending us such a leader, so needed at this time in our history!

  3. Not a political entity?!? You have got to be kidding me. Politics elected him. It’s because he’s from Argentina, the largest Christian nation, and has an Italian background that he’s Pope now.

    He’s about as non-political as our politicians.

  4. There are always considerations of one kind or another when choosing the pope. There has to be, in order to choose the man who will best address the current needs of the Church. That doesn’t make them political.

  5. It is truly amazing that we have had the popes we have needed for the times. Pope John Paul II was elected at a time when we needed to energize the youth. Pope Benedict was elected at a time when we needed liturgical reform, ecumenism, and theological clarity. Pope Francis has been elected at a time when we need humility, simplicity, and dignity for the poor. St. Francis appeals to people of all faiths, and I believe this pope will be able to do the same. He is already softening the media by thanking them for thier hard work instead of chastizing them for hypothesizing on “what the Church needs.”

  6. Thank you Holy Spirit for sending your faithful servant Pope Francis as a sign of Christ in the midst of a much confused and dark world at this time in history. I believe we can expect great things to happen at this time within the church. Holy Spirit that people over t over the world may be transformed at this time. protect protect our Pope!

  7. Well said, Sr. MM!

  8. God bless u we are blest for having u as our pope

  9. I absolutely believe that Pope Francis has been sent to us by God. God knows best what we need. I am so grateful God sent him to us! I can actually “see” a lit of the qualities of St. Francis of Assisi in him…..humility and devotion to God. Thank you God for sending him to us!

  10. So refreshing that the leader of this “political entity” isn’t a narcissist.

  11. Poor people also means spiritually poor. He may meant that way too. His selection as pope made laymen to feel clearly on God Almighty’s hands and wish, rather than lobbying and voting for someone particular.

  12. I thank the Holy Spirit for giving the Cardinals, the grace of wisdom. Pope Francis is a gift from God to lead His people. He deserves
    to sit on Peter’s throne and to head God’s Universal Ministry, the Catholic.

  13. Thank you Lord for giving us such a wonderful man of God.I really admire him for his humility,love for the disadvantaged people in society,especially the orphans,washing the feet of those who are HIV positive.Thank you Lord for a good shepherd.God bless you Pope Francis

  14. We were praying for a Pope that God wants to lead his Church..n we were given one, weren’t we?? God bless Pope Francis..

  15. Yes, God wills it and in His time. . .Praise be the Lord, God Almighty. . .

  16. To Jim Klink. To lump Pope Francis in with our politicians who are for the most part Godless and corrupt is blasphemous. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  17. There are always lurkers on these sites who hate the Church for one reason or another. Usually best ignored, because they’re only looking for attention.

  18. Monica: The “lurkers” I find are children of God, just like us, that are searching. We are at all different levels of faith and sometimes we all start at zero faith and become the most ardenant defenders of faith once we embrace our true selve in God. Most times this comes from the help of others through Christ. Don’t get offended, just embrace.

  19. Oh, I know, TanMan. Everyone’s journey is different. It IS a little hard, though, to endure the ones who have to be offensive while they disbelieve. Some are worse than others, and some aren’t trying to understand or to learn, they just want to attack or tear down.

  20. Mr. Klink: Those who believe that “…He’s about as non-political as our politicians.” will only see the political decision process used by democratic governments. Those of catholic faith believe our Church leaders to include the Mass, prayed for Holy guidance to receive our blessed Pope Francis. I’m not speaking for all catholics, but at least this catholic believes that. Anyhow, my point being is, delve deeper into the history of the catholic papacy and I think you will find that there is something more than just politics.

  21. Monica: This life is nothing but endurance. If you know about the Saints, some of them weren’t very nice people before they came to the trinity. Just know we all can become Saints one day. But it is a walk of endurance. Turn condemnation to love. Thats all that matters. Love. Good Day.

  22. TanMan- “delve deeper into the history of the catholic papacy and I think you will find that there is something more than just politics”…Did you ever delve into the papacy in the Middle Ages and Renaissance? It’s nothing BUT political – ever hear of the Borgia pope? How about the Avignon papacy and when there were THREE popes because different factions were fighting with one another? Pope Julius II strapping on his armor to lead his army? What about the guy who bought off his rival so that he resigned, and then had to resign himself because he was convicted of simony? These are historical facts and it doesn’t make us better Catholics or a better church to make believe that these things didn’t happen. Things are better now than then but delving deeper can show you just how political it can get.

  23. KW: You said it, “Things are better now.” The turbulent consequences of the Middle Ages and Renaissance brought us to a peaceful, richer state and the Church survived. It will always survive because it can’t be torn down. Your talking about a 2000 year history. If I just focus on the turbulent aspects of history and dismiss the fulness of Spiritual growth that those turbulent times provided the church and the Mass, I would have to dismiss the fact that God had a hand in building the wonderful faith we have as a Universal church. As with self, the pains that I endured in life, grow my faith and guide me closer to the original design that God has created me for and for me. I believe this to be the same for the Church. I am under the influence that blessings and growth always follow pain and agony, when under the will of God. To say that man can have a willful influence, through politics, over the state of the Church dismisses the whole premise that God is control of what he created and what he owns. I’m sorry, I can’t place it in a more carnal perspective, like politics, I just don’t have those eyes anymore. If you have time, look into and question the apostolic succession. Its interesting. God Bless.

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