Notes from Rome by John Paul Shimek | Catholic World Report
Blessed Pope John Paul II’s 1996 Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis ordained that, “After the solemn ceremony of the inauguration of the Pontificate and within an appropriate time, the Pope will take possession of the Patriarchal Archbasilica of the Lateran, according to the prescribed ritual” (UDG, n. 92). On March 27, Vatican Information Service announced the date for that event. In an official bollettino of the Sala Stampa della Santa Sede, the Vatican announced that “The solemn celebration of the Eucharist during which Francis will take possession of the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome will take place in the Lateran Basilica on April 7th, the Second Sunday of Easter, or Divine Mercy Sunday, at 5:30pm.” Unlike Universi Dominici Gregis, the Press Office’s bulletin laid the stress on the ‘cathedra of the Bishop of Rome,’ not the ‘Patriarchal Archbasilica of the Lateran.’ It is well-known that Francis favors the title ‘Bishop of Rome’ over the title ‘Pope.’ He uses the first title much more often than the second one. For instance, on the night of his election, Pope Francis used the title ‘Bishop’ some six times, but did not use the title ‘Pope’ once.
Pope Francis addressed crowds in Italian at this week’s General Audience, which was held inside St. Peter’s Square on March 27. After his address, assistants read translations of his remarks in various national languages. Then, Pope Francis greeted pilgrims in Italian. Although Francis speaks Spanish, French, German, and English, he has decided to address crowds in Italian, the language of the Bishop of Rome and his people. This custom differs from that of Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Both men used to address crowds in various languages.
Oftentimes, Pope Francis will address crowds in colloquial or Roman Italian. In the course of his first Angelus address, he called Cardinal Walter Kasper a theologian “in gamba,” which is akin to the German “Mensch.” At the same time, he takes note of Roman or Italian customs, wishing pilgrims a good pranzo. And, he identifies with Roman religious practices. On the morning after his election, he visited the image of the Salus Populi Romani at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Pope Francis is making a conscious effort to appeal to the Roman people as their new bishop.
On March 27, the Vatican’s Sala Stampa confirmed that Pope Francis will continue residing at the Domus Sancta Marthae.