Pope Francis I Goes Unscripted

Schlumpy Guy on the Vatican Bus Could Be Holy Father

getty images

By Reuters

Published March 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

The Vatican, an age-old institution used to having almost everything done by the book, is bracing for the unscripted papacy.

In less than 24 hours after he became the first non-European pope in some 1,300 years, Francis seemed to break more rules than his predecessor did in eight years.

“We are going to have to get used to a new way of doing things,” said Father Tom Rosica, an amiable Canadian priest who runs a Catholic television station in Canada and was drafted to Rome to help with the media influx during the papal transition.

Indeed, the first words out of Francis’ mouth after he became pope sent a signal that things would be different.

He did not start by using the customary “Praised be Jesus Christ” or “Dear brothers and sisters”, but employed a much more familiar and inviting “Buona Sera” - good evening in Italian - to address drenched crowds in a rain-swept St. Peter’s Square.

“I was stunned by what happened last night. I didn’t expect a pontificate to begin with ‘Buona Sera,’” Rosica said.

On the morning after his election, the Vatican was scrambling to meet the needs of a new-style papacy.

“We have to have patience, we are starting something new. There are a lot of things we don’t know yet,” said Father Federico Lombardi, the chief Vatican spokesman, as he faced a barrage of reporters’ questions about what to expect.

The answer is probably: expect the unexpected.

Even before he delighted the crowds with his unorthodox style on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis give a hint of a new style to his fellow cardinals.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.