At Inaugural, Francis Calls for Protection of Planet, Poor

New pope tours St. Peter's Square in open-top Jeep

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 19, 2013 4:31 AM CDT | Updated Mar 19, 2013 7:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – Pope Francis officially kicked off his papacy today with a call to protect the planet and its poor, in a "low-key" yet dignitary-stuffed inaugural Mass that installed him as the Catholic Church's 266th pontiff. “Let us never forget that authentic power is service and that the pope, too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross," he told the crowd in St. Peter's Square. His inauguration was a simpler—and shorter—affair than previous ones, Reuters reports. In a sign of the humble and open style the Argentine is expected to bring to the papacy, he shunned the bullet-proof popemobile to tour the square in an open-topped Jeep, emerging to walk among the crowd, shaking hands and kissing babies. As the service began, he received the fisherman's ring that symbolizes the papacy and the white woolen vestment that symbolizes his role as a shepherd for the faithful, the New York Times reports.

The square holds around 100,000 people but Italian authorities were predicting the crowd in the area would top 1 million, CNN reports. The service installing Francis was attended by 132 official delegations and religious leaders from around the world, including six sovereign rulers, 31 heads of state, three princes, and 11 heads of government, mostly from Latin America, the AP reports. The pope will meet the government delegations in St. Peter's Basilica following today's service and meet with religious delegations from around the world tomorrow before taking a day off. Reuters adds that Francis surprised his native Argentina with a phone call home.

Crowds gather in St. Peter's Square for the  inauguration Mass for Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Crowds gather in St. Peter's Square for the inauguration Mass for Pope Francis at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
One of the faithful holds a picture of Pope Francis as she watches his installation Mass on a big screen outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
One of the faithful holds a picture of Pope Francis as she watches his installation Mass on a big screen outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
A woman gestures as she waits to watch Pope Francis' installation Mass on a big screen outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
A woman gestures as she waits to watch Pope Francis' installation Mass on a big screen outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
As people watch Pope Francis' installation Mass on a big screen outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, one member prays Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
As people watch Pope Francis' installation Mass on a big screen outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, one member prays Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives for his inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives for his inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives for his inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives for his inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
Faithful gather to attend Pope Francis' installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Faithful gather to attend Pope Francis' installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Faithful gather to attend Pope Francis' installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Faithful gather to attend Pope Francis' installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and his wife Angelica River attend Pope Francis' installation Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and his wife Angelica River attend Pope Francis' installation Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
A priest delivers communion to the faithful in St. Peter's Square during the inauguration Mass for Pope Francis at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
A priest delivers communion to the faithful in St. Peter's Square during the inauguration Mass for Pope Francis at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives in St. Peter's Square for his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
A visitor holds up a flag from Argentina during the Mass for the inauguration of Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
A visitor holds up a flag from Argentina during the Mass for the inauguration of Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis celebrates his installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis celebrates his installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
Hundreds of faithful watch Pope Francis' installation Mass on a big screen outside the Metropolitan Cathedral  in Buenos Aires, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Hundreds of faithful watch Pope Francis' installation Mass on a big screen outside the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves after attending Pope Francis' installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves after attending Pope Francis' installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis looks out from the altar during his inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis looks out from the altar during his inauguration Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
U.S. vice-president Joe Biden attends Pope Francis' installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
U.S. vice-president Joe Biden attends Pope Francis' installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal arrives in St. Peter's Square for Pope Francis installation Mass, at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal arrives in St. Peter's Square for Pope Francis installation Mass, at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis celebrates his installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis celebrates his installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Pope Francis is helped walk down the steps in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis is helped walk down the steps in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Pope Francis drinks from a chalice as he celebrates his installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis drinks from a chalice as he celebrates his installation Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Pope Francis walks past the alter in front of St. Peter's Basilica in St. Peter's Square following his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
Pope Francis walks past the alter in front of St. Peter's Basilica in St. Peter's Square following his inauguration Mass at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis waves to the crowd prior to his inaugural Mass today/
Pope Francis waves to the crowd prior to his inaugural Mass today/   (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Cardinals attend Pope Francis' inaugural Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
Cardinals attend Pope Francis' inaugural Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
Pope Francis rides in an open Jeep in St. Peter's Square today.   (YouTube)

« Prev« Prev | Next »Next »

I would ask all those who have positions of responsibility, and all men and women of good will: let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, of the environment. - Pope Francis

« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
Check out another Brilliant story: 4 Kidnapped Journalists Freed in Syria After 10 Months
6%
Hilarious
15%
Intriguing
1%
Depressing
58%
Brilliant
2%
Scary
17%
Ridiculous
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   BuzzFeed   |   Cracked   |   World History Project   |   POPSUGAR Tech   |   Business Insider   |   HuffPost Entertainment