During the press briefing today, we were told that after the first appearance and blessing last night, Pope Francis went back to the cardinal’s residence, Casa Santa Marta, on the little bus with the other cardinals rather than take the car with the plates SCV1.
At end of the meal they had together, at the time of toasts and little speeches (absolutely necessary in Italy), he quipped “God forgive you for what you have done.”
As mentioned before, he spoke last night with the former Pope, Benedict. He will visit him soon at Castel Gandolfo.
Pope Francis went this morning, his first full day as Pope, to the Basilia St. Mary Major to venerate the Madonna “Salus Populi Romani“. She is especially dear to the Roman people. Classy. He carried with him a little bouquet of flowers which he left at the altar. He prayed for a while. He visited also the relic of the crib, the manger, of the Nativity, and then went to the Sistine chapel of that Basilica, upon which altar St. Ignatius Loyola said his first Mass on Christmas Eve. And he prayed before the tomb of St. Pius V, also in that chapel.
He returned in one of the squad cars of the Vatican Gendarmes without the big entourage of cars.
He went to the house where I used to live on the V. della Scrofa, to collect his luggage. That is where he was before the conclave. That is where I had met him on various occasions. He went to the office and paid the bill for his room!
He went back to Santa Marta then, to meet people and get organized for the next days.
This evening is the Mass with Cardinals. The Mass will be in Latin with readings in Italian. The sermon could be in Italian. It might be pretty spontaneous. It is probable that we in the press won’t have advance texts, so we will all have to be pretty careful in talking about his words. (What do you want to bet there were speeches prepared already?)
After the Mass tonight, the seals will be removed by Francis from the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace. It sounds as if he is going to move fairly soon to the Apostolic Palace after small adjustments are made.
After, they just went through some schedule stuff, which will already be everywhere by now.
We were told that the General of the Jesuits issued a statement about the election of Francis, a Jesuit. He referred to the special bond of Jesuits with the Pope and their vow of obedience. I look forward to seeing that in some certain Jesuits I have in mind.
The Pope knows Spanish, Italian, German, English, and French and probably some Portuguese.
A question was raised about security given that this Pope is rather spontaneous and informal. The security team will have to do its best given the Pope’s style.