I have never heard Rome so quiet.
In just a moment, the bespectacled man on the loggia, on whom countless eyes around the world were focused, managed to quell the ebullient, near-frenzied tens of thousands gathered below him in St. Peter’s Square, with a simple request: pray for me.
With those words, Jorge Mario Bergoglio – the newly minted Pope Francis — bowed his head in submission, and the full-throated throng that seconds before had been shouting “Viva Il Papa,” fell silent, humbled, perhaps, by the new pope’s own humility.
Within minutes of his first appearance as the 266th vicar of Christ, Francis’s life and career were being dissected for clues to how he would reign and where he would take the Roman Catholic Church that had just been entrusted to him. The most straightforward, and perhaps honest answer is: global.