Published: March 20. 2013 4:00AM PST
Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to his inauguration Mass on Tuesday in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
After a week marked by acts of simplicity and openness, Francis finally let his words do the talking as he officially began his stewardship of the Catholic Church.
“Please," he implored the tens of thousands, both poor and powerful, gathered outside St. Peter’s Basilica. “Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment."
It was a message Pope Francis has hinted at, but now he made it clear, as he urged the economic, political and religious leaders arrayed before him not to allow “omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world."
Francis was interrupted by applause as he declared his role as the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was to open his arms to “the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison."
— The Associated Press
Alessandra Tarantino / The Associated Press