The New Pope: Gorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires
Francis Ventures Out of Vatican on First Day as Pope
By Jeffrey Donovan – Mar 14, 2013 10:51 AM ET
Pope Francis ventured outside the Vatican’s walls to pray at a Roman basilica and pay his hotel bill the day after becoming the first Roman Catholic leader to hail from outside Europe in more than 1,200 years.
Gorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, offered prayers to Mary, the mother of Jesus, during a morning visit to St. Mary Major in Rome’s historic center. The church must offer “mercy, mercy, mercy” for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, he told priests at the basilica, Father Ludovico Melo said in a Sky TG24 interview.
On his return to the Vatican, Francis stopped off at the clerical residence where he’d stayed during the conclave to pick up his bags, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said at a press briefing. “He then paid his bill to set a good example” at the lodgings on Rome’s Via della Scrofa, he said.
Francis’s election, a surprise choice that reflects the church’s shifting demographics, comes as the Vatican struggles to emerge from an era of scandal and intrigue. Bergoglio’s seen as a Roman outsider after a papal vote depicted by analysts as a struggle between mostly Italian cardinals seeking to preserve the status quo of the Vatican government known as the Curia and others looking to shake it up amid reports of mismanagement and alleged corruption.