Sunday 18 February 2018

Salvador Ryan: 'Man of poverty' Francis is sending a clear message

Today world leaders and up to one million pilgrims gather in Rome for the inaugural Mass of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has made the surprise (and, for some, inspiring) choice of Francis as a papal name.

The practice of popes adopting a new name has been customary since the 10th century. The first to actually do so, however, was Pope John II (elected in 533) whose own name, Mercury, was deemed decidedly inappropriate.

Speculation quickly surrounded Bergoglio's choice of 'Francis'. The new name is often understood as the means by which new popes 'set out their stall' on the direction they wish their papacy to take.

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