Video: Vatican Dispatch

posted at 4:48 pm on March 14, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

(VATICAN CITY) It’s been three days since I’ve been able to tape a Vatican Dispatch, thanks to enhanced security measures at the Vatican during the conclave and the election of Pope Francis last night.  The only video update I have been able to do was the quick and noisy video in St. Peter’s Square with an interview of an American couple on vacation in Rome last night.  Today I got out early, but unfortunately as you’ll see and hear, I had a problem with my microphone, so the camera microphone was the only audio I got.  You can hear me … until I got pre-empted by the cardinals going into a special Mass with Pope Francis in the Sistine Chapel:

The TVs in St. Peter’s Square, left over from the smoke watch, broadcast the live video of the Mass to the several hundred people in the piazza.  It was quite beautiful, although I had to leave shortly to catch my bus.  Unfortunately, the problem with the microphone didn’t become apparent until it was too late to reshoot, but it has been corrected now.

During the briefing today, the Vatican expressed gratitude to the media for telling a good story honestly, which prompted applause from the Italian-speaking journalists who heard it first.  However, they did want to clear up a point that made the rounds last night about the health of the new Pope, especially the report that he only has one lung.  While it is true that Francis had an operation on one lung, only a portion of the lung was removed — and that happened 55 years ago, when then-Jorge Bergoglio was 21 years old.  He has had no complications since then, and his overall health is good, the Vatican insisted.

The Vatican also confirmed — emphatically — that Pope Francis chose his papal name in explicit reference to St. Francis of Assisi, and not Francis Xavier or Francis de Sales.  The Pope wants to emphasize humility and pastoral service, and a couple of anecdotes perhaps makes that more clear.  First, Francis insisted on riding on the bus with the cardinals back to the lodgings after the end of the conclave, rather than ride in his own vehicle as he was entitled to do.  At dinner that evening at the Domus Sancta Marthae, while cardinals offered toasts to him, Francis jokingly replied at one point, “May God forgive you for what you have done.”

One final anecdote is especially worth relating.  The pontiff prayed at Santa Maria Maggiore this morning, one of the most important churches in Rome, but afterward returned to where he had lodged before the start of the congregations that took place before the conclave.  Why?  He wanted to pick up his luggage and pay his bill, and wanted to do it himself.  The Vatican briefing noted that we will likely see a much different style from Pope Francis than what we’ve seen from his predecessors, a much more spontaneous and personal Pope.  That will be a challenge for his security detail, but as Father Federico Lombardi pointed out, the security detail exists to serve the Pope and not the other way around.

For more on the meaning behind the choice of Santa Maria Maggiore, be sure to read Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s analysis. Pope Francis may have been sending a signal about the direction of his pontificate:

The first thing Francis does is go to St Mary Major to pray at the tomb of Pius V. So who was Pope St Pius V? He was a reforming pope who reigned from 1566- 1572. He cleaned up the curia, excommunicated heretical bishops, cleaned up the immorality in the church and swept the church clean paving the way for the great surge in the church we call the Counter Reformation. He excommunicated the tyrant Elizabeth I and formed the Holy League which eventually defeated the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto. He also instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victories (nor the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary).

Will Pope Francis hear the call from Christ to “re-build my church” and not only be a new Francis but a new Pius V? It may be that we will see some high drama in the months to come. Certainly if his reputation in his native Argentina is anything to go by, we may well see a Pope who is uncompromising in his proclamation of the fullness of the Catholic faith. He stood up against an aggressive secular authority when they tried to impose same sex marriage and abortion. He also stood up to his clergy and led by example with an austere life committed fully to the gospel.

Be sure to read it all.  I promise there aren’t any microphone malfunctions there.


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I had to laugh when they reported that he went to a “church.” Some church!

Blake on March 14, 2013 at 4:53 PM

greetings Ed:

Don’t forget to come back with Pope Souvenirs!!

ToddPA on March 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM

It looks like they picked a winner here.

I hope the GOP takes heed and sees that a strong leader with convictions can take a faltering movement and give it life.

Are you listening, Boehner? Never mind. Go back to your wine and cheese with Obama. I didn’t say anything that you’d be interested in hearing.

Wino on March 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Hey Ed. Did your wife get to go?

gh on March 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Don’t forget to come back with Pope Souvenirs!!

ToddPA on March 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Way ahead of you on that one. I went by the Vatican post office to pick up the Sede Vacante and Habemus Papem commemoration sets.

Ed Morrissey on March 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Hey Ed. Did your wife get to go?

gh on March 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Not this time, and it’s a bit boring without her here.

Ed Morrissey on March 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

My goodness don’t they know who you are Ed? They could have gone to mass after you finished with your report.

D-fusit on March 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Wino on March 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM

If you want a contrary opinion, check out Ann Barnhardt at http://barnhardt.biz

gh on March 14, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Ed Morrissey on March 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Sorry to hear that. But then you’re looking forward to coming back and getting back to work :-)

gh on March 14, 2013 at 5:04 PM

Don’t forget to come back with Pope Souvenirs!!

ToddPA on March 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Way ahead of you on that one. I went by the Vatican post office to pick up the Sede Vacante and Habemus Papem commemoration sets.

Ed Morrissey on March 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM

There you go!

ToddPA on March 14, 2013 at 5:04 PM

As someone who describes himself as a “recovered Catholic”, I am interested to see if Pope Francis I will be successful if he does try to

cleaned up the curia, excommunicated heretical bishops, cleaned up the immorality in the church and swept the church clean paving the way for the great surge in the church we call the Counter Reformation

.
My disgust with the Catholic Church’s hypocrisy and evil is extensive but from everything I have heard so far, this may be the Pope who returns the Church to the teachings of Christ, purges the centuries of teaching ‘guilt’ and drives the immoral from his clergy.

May God grant him the strength and wisdom to persevere.

PolAgnostic on March 14, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Ed loved your reports. Thanks so much.

Sorry the Mrs. couldn’t join you

CoffeeLover on March 14, 2013 at 5:09 PM

2nd coffeelover message Ed

Bene bene

cmsinaz on March 14, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Well Mr. Morrissey, you certainly have provided some interesting coverage for such an historic event. I must say I was following the coverage on EWTN and was a little disappointed with some of their coverage. Father Z had some interesting posts as well. Still in a state of pleasant surprise at the selection of Pope Francis.

fourdeucer on March 14, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Ed loved your reports. Thanks so much.

Sorry the Mrs. couldn’t join you

CoffeeLover on March 14, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Yes. Well said. +1. :) Safe trip home.

kim roy on March 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Way ahead of you on that one. I went by the Vatican post office to pick up the Sede Vacante and Habemus Papem commemoration sets.

Ed Morrissey on March 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Ed goes to Rome to see the new Pope and all we get is this lousy post.

LOL. I hope you have had a fantastic time! I am so grateful for your posts. I can’t watch any of EWTN’s video because whatever they use is blocked here at work, so if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have known about Francis until I got home from work.

And you scooped everybody with the news!

Thank you!

Lily on March 14, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Take the Scavi Tour if you can, only a fool would go all the way to Rome and not do the Scavi.

Bishop on March 14, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Thank you Ed. Hope you had a great time!

Jayrae on March 14, 2013 at 5:40 PM

I can’t help but be reminded of the film/book Shoes of the Fisherman, where the Pope sneaks out of the Papal Residence incognito.

WitchDoctor on March 14, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Ed is going to be hanging in Roma until the mass I believe. And Papa Francesco is going to be a blast. Like the guy already.

Illinidiva on March 14, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Why do I get the feeling this Pope will be more trouble than he’s worth? The whole concept of social justice and liberation theology have long passed and been discredited everywhere but in his mind. He may want to read some works from Pope JPII.

Tater Salad on March 14, 2013 at 5:52 PM

…enjoy the hours you have left and have a safe trip home!

KOOLAID2 on March 14, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Please, dear Francis, turn over some tables !!
Great job, Ed !

pambi on March 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Terrific coverage, Ed!

Way ahead of you on that one. I went by the Vatican post office to pick up the Sede Vacante and Habemus Papem commemoration sets.

Ed Morrissey on March 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Very nice addition to any collection!

dogsoldier on March 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM

gh on March 14, 2013 at 5:02 PM

I never even made it past the sixth paragraph. She seems to be someone who just likes to biotch. I pity her husband.

Wino on March 14, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Wino on March 14, 2013 at 5:59 PM

She’s unmarried. She is also extremely logical and well-informed. She was unhappy with her parent’s church and did not find the Roman Catholic church until her mid-twenties. So she’s a bit fanatical as converts often are. You can find all this on her blog.

I also read Weigel’s NRO piece. He conversed with the new pope last May for an hour, so his opinion is more likely closer to the truth.

I suspect Ann Barnhardt may have been misinformed as the left in Argentina have made all sorts of slanders against the new pope. However his statement on the Falklands last year troubles me. Still, he was born in Buenos Aires and no-one can get everything right.

gh on March 14, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Hey Ed. Did your wife get to go?

gh on March 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Not this time, and it’s a bit boring without her here.

Ed Morrissey on March 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

What? She’s not there to keep an eye on your pizza and pasta intake?

Your Vatican posts have been great, Ed. I have passed the links along to some of my fellow Catholic friends.

Taranto’s “Best of the Web Today” makes mincemeat of the “journalists” who haven’t the slightest clue about the CC nor the Papacy.

onlineanalyst on March 14, 2013 at 6:32 PM

Tater Salad. Papa Francesco was a pretty staunch anti-Communist back in the day and some of the whining on the left is about him and the Dirty Wars. So I don’t think that we’re going to go into liberation theology. And if he can bring people back to the Church by having a much simpler style and being much closer to the people and more relatable than that is a good thing.

Illinidiva on March 14, 2013 at 6:45 PM

onlineanalyst on March 14, 2013 at 6:32 PM

It’s a hoot! Here’s Taranto’s commentary for your reading pleasure.

PatriotGal2257 on March 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM

I think it would be nice to have a post from the home of Pope Francis’ namesake, Assisi. It would be nice to hear of the residents reaction to the new Pope and the name that he has chosen. It is a short distance from Rome. IMHO, I had a much more spiritual experience there, compared to Rome.

St. Francis received his commission from God to “rebuild his Church” while spending many hours in adoration of the San Damiano Cross, which is now in the Basilica di Santa Chiarra (St. Clare) in Assisi.

HellCat on March 14, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Why do I get the feeling this Pope will be more trouble than he’s worth? The whole concept of social justice and liberation theology have long passed and been discredited everywhere but in his mind. He may want to read some works from Pope JPII.

Tater Salad on March 14, 2013 at 5:52 PM

As discussed on other thread, ‘social justice’ does not quite mean to Catholics what it means to the Left.

And liberation theology? From Pope Francis? Are you joking?

In other news, I am frankly stunned that a Jesuit took as his Papal name the founder of a different monastic order. That speaks to a certain intra-Magisterium ecumenism.

I wonder how the Jesuits are taking that.

Scott H on March 14, 2013 at 9:09 PM

“Pius V…. excommunicated the tyrant Elizabeth I ” Ed, have you gone completely mad? We are talking here about Elizabeth the Great who, with her brilliant admirals, defeated the vile pinhead and incompetent Philip II of Spain in 1588, thus preserving England, common law, religious freedom, and the ability, within 125 years, of the English to colonize what became our great nation, the last, best hope of the world. Without Elizabeth, there would certainly not be a United States. Our continent would be ruled by despicable scum like Pizarro.

John Adams on March 14, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Ed, if you are still checking in on responses to this post, how chilly is it there in Rome? I noticed that most people are wearing jackets. I would have expected the weather to be milder than jacket weather in mid-March.

onlineanalyst on March 14, 2013 at 11:01 PM