16 March 2013

Jesus Christ superstar Pope Francis maybe

In his first appearance at St. Peter's Square, the first Latin American pope acquiesced the crowds and asked for their blessing.

Back in Argentina, people in the slums recognized the action as the exact same type of humility that gained their hearts. His spirituality, prudent way of life, and his durable protection of the poor have made him a very popular figure in Buenos Aires.

When the information broke in his home city, cars honked their horns and Catholics began flooding towards the city's basilicas and churches.

In the 13th century, St. Francis of Assisi made it his goal to respond to the poor and reveal that through simpleness and love, a more powerful foundation for the church could be built.

Pope Francis said Saturday he wanted "a poor church for the poor" in his first remarks to the media since he was elected leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Wearing simple white robes and plain black shoes, he discussed how he decided to call himself after St. Francis of Assisi: When he reached two-thirds of the vote in the conclave, a fellow cardinal welcomed him and said, "Don't forget the poor."

"That's when I thought of Francis of Assisi," he said. "And that is how the name pertained to me: Francis of Assisi, the men of poverty, of peace. This is exactly what I desire, an poor church for the poor."

His comments underscored previous indications of his inclination for austerity - he did not sit on the papal throne to receive the cardinals after being elected, he took a bus with the other cardinals back to their hotel and he was observed Friday paying the costs himself.

After he became a cardinal in 2001, he wore an easy black T-shirt with a white collar. For people at the slum's Caacupe Virgin of the Miracles Church, it's absolutely nothing except a miracle that their friend is the pope.

For Argentina's poorest residents, crowded in "misery villages" throughout the capital, he's proudly known as one of their own, a real "slum pope." Villa 21-24 is a slum so hazardous that the majority of outsiders don't dare get in, but residents state Jorge Mario Bergoglio frequently appeared unannounced to share laughs and sips of mate, the typical Argentine natural tea. People remember how the Buenos Aires archbishop would arrive on a bus to their little church; how he recruited marathons and carpentry classes, consoled single moms and washed the feet of recovering drug addicts.

Inside the concrete block church, there's a painted message commemorating Bergoglio's inauguration, and an additional big painting of Pope John Paul II, however no sign of Benedict XVI whatsoever.

Near the altar, there's a big black-and-white poster of Carlos Mugica, an iconic Argentine slum priest who was killed in 1974 by a right-wing death squad intent on removing the "liberation theology" he preached. He has done much to follow in Mugica's footprints, sponsoring all sorts of outreach programs in Argentina's slums.
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