Photo: Standing on the colonnade at the Vatican
posted at 8:25 am on March 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
(VATICAN CITY) Earlier today, Pope Francis gave his first Sunday Angelus and blessing to the city of Rome, drawing a crowd of tens of thousands away from the marathon taking place in the center of the city. While the Pope offered open arms to Romans, I stood on the open arm of the Vatican itself, where the media gathered to watch and listen to Francis. I’ll have more later, but this picture shows my view of the crowd in St. Peter’s Square:
I may end up back there on Tuesday for the installation Mass as well.
We have not yet received the English translation of Francis’ speech, again a side effect of his spontaneity, and I was told it would come tomorrow. Vatican Radio’s English-language report offers a brief recap:
After returning into the church to take off his liturgical vestments, Pope Francis again greeted the faithful outside, before making his way to his study and the window overlooking St Peter’s Square, below which was gathered a crowd to rival the more than 100 thousand-strong who braved cold, rain and dark to meet the Pope on Wednesday – the night of his election – and receive his blessing for the first time. Dozens of national flags were visible in the packed Square, and a deafening cheer went up when, at last, Pope Francis appeared. Mercy was once again the cornerstone of his reflections ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion.
He told a story, of an elderly widow he encountered during a Mass for the sick celebrated in connection with a visit of the image of Our Lady of Fatima. “I went to confession during the Mass,” he said, “and near the end – I had to go to do confirmations afterward, and an elderly lady approached me – humble [she was] so very humble, more than eighty years old. I looked at her, and said, ‘Grandmother,’ – where I come from, we call elderly people grandmother and grandfather – ‘would you like to make your confession?’ ‘Yes,’ she said – and I said, ‘but, if you have not sinned…’ and she said, ‘we all have sinned.’ [I replied], ‘if perhaps He should not forgive [you]?’ and, sure, she replied, ‘The Lord forgives everything.’ I asked, ‘How do you know this for sure, madam?’ and she replied, ‘If the Lord hadn’t forgiven all, then the world wouldn’t [still] be here.’ And, I wanted to ask her, ‘Madam, did you study at the Gregorian (the Pontifical Gregorian University, founded in 1551 by St Ignatius Loyola, the oldest Jesuit university in the world)?’ – because that is wisdom, which the Holy Spirit gives – interior wisdom regarding the mercy of God. Let us not forget this word: God never tires of forgiving us,” he repeated, “but we sometimes tire of asking Him to forgive us.” Pope Francis went on to say, “Let us never tire of asking God’s forgiveness.”
Recently in the Green Room: