Before an astounding crowd of some 300,000 in and around St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis today delivered his first angelus as pontiff, urging the faithful to be merciful and forgiving.
Hours earlier, the humility and spontaneity of the 76-year-old Argentine was on display when he greeted onlookers near the edge of Vatican City.
As the pope was entering a mass in St. Anna Parish, he decided to stop and greet a crowd of people awaiting his arrival. Walking up to the crowd, Francis shook hands, held a baby, and even motioned for two priests he recognized in the crowd to bypass the barricades and approach him.
It was the latest sign of the informality of the new pontiff. In the days since he was selected by his fellow cardinals to lead the Roman Catholic Church, Francis has shunned the fancy red shoes of his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in favor of simple black shoes, declined a ride in a limousine in favor of a mini-van, and donned simple white robes and a wooden cross. The new informal style has been welcomed by followers and colleagues worldwide.