Saturday, March 16, 2013

Pope Francis meets journalists, cracks a joke



VATICAN CITY -- He’s a charmer.
Pope Francis on Saturday went before several thousand journalists, thanked them for their work, told a joke or two and even blessed (or at least patted) someone’s seeing-eye dog.

In a custom that dates at least to John Paul II, one of the pope’s first public appearances was a meeting in the modern Paul VI Hall with an estimated 5,000 reporters based in Rome or flown in to cover the week’s historic events.

Francis sat on the stage in a large but relatively simple chair and read a speech that thanked the press for its work during this “intense period” which had focused the world’s eyes on the Roman Catholic Church.

Then, departing from his text, he offered to tell the story of how he chose his name, and in so doing provided a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the conclave, the secret vote by cardinals to select a new pontiff. He is the first Pope Francis, and some have wondered which Francis was his inspiration.

VATICAN CITY

Los Angeles Times

By Tracy Wilkinson

March 16, 2013

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