- (Photo: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi)
Pope Francis has quickly set the precedent for his reign with a welcoming attitude that appears to be warming the hearts of the public.
Pope Francis made an impromptu appearance before the public near the side gate of the Vatican Sunday. Those walking the street were taken with seeing the Pope; some went as far as to reach out at touch Pope Francis on the shoulder. The pope shook the hands of the public and kissed the foreheads of babies before re-entering the Vatican to give his first Sunday speech.
The speech also came as a surprise to many. Instead of following a pre-written script, Pope St. Francis opened his speech by talking openly about the forgiveness of God.
Recalling a parable in which Jesus said "let him among you who is without sin, cast the first stone," the Pope began his message of forgiveness. In the story Jesus is referring to a woman who has been condemned by the people. Jesus says to her "go and sin no more."
"I think even we are sometimes like these people, who on the one hand want to listen to Jesus, but on the other hand, sometimes we like to stone others and condemn others. The message of Jesus is this: mercy," he told the crowd.
"I say in all humility that this is the strongest message of the Lord: mercy," he reiterated.
Pope St. Francis then encouraged the crowd to ask for God's forgiveness.
"The Lord never tires of forgiving, never! It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness," he said. "Let us ask for the grace of never tiring of asking for forgiveness because he never tires of forgiving."
In a previous meeting with journalists, the Pope also expressed his concern for the poor and urged the media to value the truth. He said the church's focus was on "truth, goodness and beauty" and asked journalists to help portray that message.