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Inauguration:Pope Francis, The Bishop of Rome

World leaders and hundreds of thousands of people have celebrating the pope’s inaugural mass at St Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

Nearly two hundred thousand people attended the mass on Tuesday, which began with a tour of the famous Vatican plaza by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, after his election last week.

Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan, reporting from Rome, said the ceremony symbolised a wedding between himself and the Catholic church. 

“It would be correct to say he is wedding himself to the church of Rome … this is a kind of wedding or matromonial ceremony.

“In fact the ring has this spousal imagery to it, so that it is forever his bond to the church of Rome.” our correspondent said.

In Vatican city, Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, said that the biggest security challenge came about when when the Pope toured the square.

“He refused to have the bullet-proof Pappamobile, he actually toured the square in an open roof.

“As everyone expected, because this is the kind of Pope he is, he got off the car and went to say hello to a sick man who had made his way here.”

Informal style 

Despite criticism at home for allegedly failing to speak out against the excesses of Argentina’s military rule, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires has already won hearts in Rome with a disarmingly informal style.

Bergoglio was a surprise choice at a conclave of cardinals to replace 85-year-old Benedict XVI, who last month brought a sudden end to a papacy that had often been overshadowed by scandal, saying he was too old to carry on.

The jovial Francis has said he chose his papal name in honour of the medieval Italian saint St Francis of Assisi and has called for a “poor Church for the poor,” warning the world’s cardinals against pursuing worldly glories.

Bergoglio, the son of an Italian emigrant railway worker from a working-class quarter of Buenos Aires, has been effusive in a way that is unusual in the Vatican, kissing pilgrims and doing impromptu walkabouts.

The Vatican has said security guards will have to adapt to the new style.

The arrivals have already presented Francis with a first diplomatic problem in the form of a request from compatriot President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina to mediate in a dispute with Britain over the Falkland Islands.

Foreign controversies

The Chinese government has also said it will not be sending any representatives after Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said he was attending.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe also flew in, sidestepping an EU travel ban over human rights abuses in his country that does not apply to the Vatican.

Latin America will be heavily represented at the mass by the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years, with the presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Paraguay all expected to attend.

The Vatican is well secured for the event, with 3,000 officers deployed including snipers on the rooftops and bomb disposal experts.

The day’s events began with a tour of St Peter’s Square by the new pope, after which Francis prayed at the tomb of St Peter, who is considered the first pontiff in Catholic tradition.

Church leaders have urged Francis to move quickly to reform the intrigue-filled Roman Curia, the central administration of the Roman Catholic Church, and his appointments in the coming weeks will be closely watched.

Francis has indicated that he will press for a friendlier faith that is closer to ordinary people and for social justice, although the moderate conservative is unlikely to change major tenets of Catholic doctrine.

Source: Aljazeera

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