Pope Francis held his first audience with reporters Saturday morning since surprising everyone Wednesday as the choice to succeed departing Benedict as new Pope. He seemed to dazzle reporters with his humility and humor. Oh, one other thing: he really wants the church to go broke.
For the very first time, the man formerly known Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires, confirmed that St. Francis of Assisi was the inspiration for his name. "I thought of wars .... and Francis (of Assisi) is the man of peace, and that is how the name entered my heart, Francis of Assisi, for me he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects others," he told reporters this morning.
But it was Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes who really inspired the name. As the papel voting was concluding and it was clear Bergoglio was the winner, Hummes hugged and kissed Bergoglio and "don't forget about the poor," in his ear. "That word entered here," Francis said, pointing to his brain. He immediately thought of Francis of Assisi, who Pope Francis described as "the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man," and decided that's how he would be named.
"Poor" was the word on everyone's tongues after the Pope gave his remarks. Francis laid out an austere outlook for the church's future Saturday morning. At one point, immediately after he told the story of coming up with the Francis name, he openly rooted for the church to go broke again. "Oh, how I would like a poor Church, and for the poor," he said. He received praise from many journalists for his simple, direct remarks -- and for showing a sense of humor.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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