Excerpts from pope's inauguration Mass homily

Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:50am EDT
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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis inaugurated his papacy on Tuesday with a Mass for about 200,000 people, including foreign leaders and representatives of other religions in St. Peter's Square. An inaugural homily is significant because its themes are seen as offering clues to the future papacy.

Here are excerpts from the Vatican's English translation of his homily, which the pope read in Italian.


"The vocation of being a "protector", however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone.

"It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God's creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.

"It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God's gifts!"


"Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are "Herods" who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.

"Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be "protectors" of creation, protectors of God's plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.   Continued...

Crowds fill Saint Peter's Square for the inaugural mass of Pope Francis at the Vatican, March 19, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi