Election of Pope Francis

Message of Bishop Philip Boyce, OCD, Bishop of Raphoe

on the Election of Pope Francis I


I offer fervent prayer and heartfelt congratulations to our new Pope, Francis I. His election was a surprise to everyone. Pundits and Vatican analysts all got it wrong. An hour after the white smoke had appeared a humble and genuine man, dressed in a white cassock appeared in the Loggia of St Peter’s Basilica. There was an explosion of joy all over the world.

In his first address, he did not even call himself Pope but the Bishop of Rome. He came across as a man of prayer. He prayed for his predecessor Benedict XVI. He asked the people to pray for himself and bowed down in prayer. The whole 200,000 people in the Square fell silent for a few impressive moments. This morning he went to the Marian Basilica, St Mary Major, to ask her to protect Rome and the world.

He has been the first to take the name Francis; the first Jesuit to be Pope; the first Pope from Latin America; the first since the sixth century to take a name that other Popes before him did not have.

His election is a clear sign of the universality (Catholicity) of the Church. The Good News of salvation reaches the whole world.

He has a heart for the poor and the marginalized. He leads a simple and frugal lifestyle, choosing while as a Cardinal to take public transport instead of a chauffeured limousine.

Like Moses, he will have to plead with the Lord to avert his just anger from the people who have made for themselves “a calf of molten metal” (cf. Ex. 32:7-14), worshipping the god of Mammon (wealth) and pleasure of all kinds.

Like St Francis, his patron, he will remember the words spoken in the chapel of San Damiano, in Assisi; “Francis, restore my Church, which you see falling into ruins”. We all have to play our part in that work of reform and renewal of our beloved Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.

May God grant Pope Francis I, strength, wisdom and courage in the years ahead.


To find out more about Pope Francis log onto www.vatican.va or www.news.va