Pope Francis flanked by Monsignor Guido Marini, master of liturgical ceremonies, waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who chose the name of Francis is the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
VATICAN CITY (AP) — On the streets in Buenos Aires, the stories about the cardinal who would become the first pope from the Americas often include a very ordinary backdrop: The city bus during rush hour.
Tales are traded about chatting with Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio as he squeezed in with others for the commute to work. They sometimes talk about church affairs. Other times it could be about what he planned to cook for dinner in the simple downtown apartment he chose over an opulent church estate.
Or perhaps it was a mention of his affection for the tango, which the he said he loved as a youth despite having one lung removed following an infection.
On the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica just after a rain shower Wednesday — wearing unadorned white robes — the new Pope Francis also appeared to strike the same tone of simplicity and pastoral humility for a church desperate to move past the tarnished era of abuse scandals and internal Vatican upheavals.
While the new pontiff is not without some political baggage — including questions over his role during a military dictatorship in Argentina in the 1970s — the selection of the 76-year-old Bergoglio reflected a series of history-making decisions by fellow cardinals who seemed determined to offer a suggestion of renewal to a church under pressures on many fronts.
“He is a real voice for the voiceless and vulnerable,” said Kim Daniels, director of Catholic Voices USA, a pro-church group. “That is the message.”
Pope Francis — the first from Latin America and the first from the Login to read more