Pope Francis I offered intimate insights Saturday into the moments after his papal election,telling an audience with the press that he was immediately inspired to take the name of St Francis of Assisi because of his work for peace and the poor and was embraced by another cardinal amid applause inside the conclave.
Let me tell you a story, Francis said in a break from his prepared text during a special gathering for thousands of journalists,media workers and guests. Francis then described how he was comforted by his friend,Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes,as it appeared the voting was going his way and it seemed a bit dangerous that he would reach the two-thirds necessary to be elected.
He hugged me. He kissed me. He said dont forget about the poor, Francis recalled. And thats how in my heart came the name Francis of Assisi,who devoted his life to poor,missionary outreach and caring for Gods creation.
He said some people asked why he took the name since it also could suggest references to other figures,including the co-founder of the popes Jesuit order,Francis Xavier. But he said the name came to his heart as an inspiration immediately after the election. St. Francis of Assisi,the pope said,was the man of the poor. The man of peace. The man who loved and cared for creation… The man who gives us this spirit of peace,the poor man who wanted a poor church. He added,Oh,how I would like a poor Church,and for the poor.
The Pope explained how he resisted the temptation to get revenge on Pope Clement XIV,who suppressed the Jesuit priestly order in the 18th century. The Society of Jesus,as Jesuits are officially called,are a legendary religious order known for intellectuals,educators and missionaries who take a special vow of obedience to the pope.