VATICAN CITY (AP) - The world's Catholics have a new spiritual leader, and Pope Francis' history suggests he'll try to be a man of the people.
The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio served as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, known for taking the bus to work, regularly visiting the city's slums and challenging his fellow church leaders to reach out to all their followers. Appearing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica Wednesday, Francis spoke in simple language, asking for the faithful's prayers.
The Vatican says Francis will celebrate his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel tomorrow. He takes over a Vatican plagued by scandal in its bureaucracy and under pressure over its failures to protect children from sexual abuse by priests.
Lauded for his humility and austerity, the 76-year-old from Argentina will be called upon to emulate one of his namesakes, St. Francis of Assisi, who dedicated his life to helping the poor and saw his calling as trying to rebuild the church.
A prominent American cardinal has said newly elected Pope Francis will visit his predecessor Benedict XVI on Thursday at the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.
Timothy Dolan said Wednesday at the North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome, that Francis told fellow cardinals following the conclave that made him pope: "Tomorrow morning, I'm going to visit Benedict."
The conclave made Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio the first pontiff from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. Benedict's stunning resignation last month has raised concerns about the peculiar situation of having a reigning pope and a retired one.
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