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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Pope Francis' Inaugural Mass

Aired March 19, 2013 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Your house and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me. And your throne be established forever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks be to God.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. You're watching the inaugural mass for Pope Francis.

If you're just joining us right now, it has been a remarkable, remarkable morning.

Pope Francis came into St. Peter's Square on top of the Popemobile, open-air. There was no top. He was not enclosed in the bullet-proof glass that we've come to expect. That wall has been removed.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: And we were talking earlier this the morning. Will he get off of the Popemobile and greet the crowd? And, indeed, that is exactly what happened. There were some babies that were brought up to the Popemobile. And he did step out to greet somebody who was ill in the crowd.

It was just a remarkable moment. A smile, ear-to-ear on his face, and the crowd enjoying every minute of it.

BERMAN: As far as the ceremony goes, much of the official proceedings have happened. He received the pallium, the ceremonial lamb's wool shawl that he wears. And he received the fisherman's ring, which is symbolic of his power as pope.

And now, we're involved in a mass. This is a mass for St. Joseph's Day.

We're joined by a lot of people here.

Let's start with Father Edward Beck.

What is the mass for St. Joseph's Day?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's celebrating, of course, the husband of Mary, father of Jesus, patron of the American church. And, by the way, it's the patron of workers and ordinary people. So, how fitting that for this pope, such an ordinary man in quotes, we're celebrating on the feast of St. Joseph, who is the patron of the ordinary person. So wonderful that even during this Lenten season, we have this festive day for this inaugural mass. SAMBOLIN: And we also have Monsignor Hilgartner with us again this morning. Really nice to have you. Thank you.

And as we're watching this, typically, the mass is said in Latin. And we just observed Sebastian Gomez, who concluded the first reading, in English.

Was that unusual?

MSGR. RICK HILGARTNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Not for these large papal masses. They recognize that this is a universal event. And so, there will be a number of languages chosen. The responsorial psalm from the Book of Psalms that we're listening to now is proclaimed in Italian. The second reading will be in Spanish. And the reading from the gospel will be in Greek.

Traditionally, at these large masses, they would read the gospel twice, both in Latin and Greek. This time, part of the brevity's sake, is trying to streamline things, there's the recognition that there's already a lot of Latin in the mass. Most of the prayers will be in Latin.

The gospel will be proclaimed in Greek, and that's especially significant given the presence of the ecumenical patriarch and many of the other representatives of the eastern churches, the orthodox churches.

We're also joined by Raymond Arroyo, who is the news director for the Eternal Word Television Network.

Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

RAYMOND ARROYO, ETERNAL WORD TELEVISION NETWORK: Delighted to be here.

BERMAN: And joining us in what's been a really remarkable morning so far. And I just want to get a sense of what struck you.

ARROYO: The thing that strikes me most, I was there yesterday. And when the pope came out of that little mass at Santa Ana, which is still the parish church of the Vatican, to watch those crowds just see the expression on their faces, I mean, it was -- you wouldn't have seen Justin Bieber get this kind of reaction. People went crazy for him.

And he seems to genuinely love that personal touch. And it is not -- it is a marked departure from what we saw earlier. It reminds me an awful lot of John Paul II. People do much the same thing.

SAMBOLIN: Can we listen in here a little bit? I think this is the second reading, now in Spanish.

DEACON PATRICIA JAUREGUI ROMERO (through translator): The promise of inheriting the world was not made to Abraham and his descendants on account of any law, but on account of the righteousness which consists in faith. That is why what fulfills the promise depends on faith, so that it may be a free gift and be available to all of Abraham's descendants.

Not only those who belong to the law, but also those who belong to the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all of us.

As Scripture says, I have made you the ancestor of many nations. Abraham is our father in the eyes of God. In whom he put his faith and who brings the dead to life and calls into being what does not exist. Though it seemed Abraham's hope could not be fulfilled, he hoped and he believed. And through doing so, he did become the father of many nations, exactly as he had been promised.

Your descendants will be as many as the stars. This is the faith that was considered as justifying him.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

(MUSIC)

SAMBOLIN: We just completed the second reading there. I wanted to pause because it was in Spanish. And this is the first pope from Latin America.

And the significance there, I know that's not why it was read in Spanish. But the significance for Latin America here.

Can we talk about that, monsignor?

HILGARTNER: Certainly. At these different masses, they choose different languages each time. And there probably was some significance, saying let's have one of the Scripture readings in Spanish because it's the language of the pope's native country.

Certainly this morning, seeing all of the flags waving, lots of Argentinean flags. But clearly, flags from all over the world. And Pope Francis' suggestion to let people stay home and do something to care for the poor, rather than traveling to Rome at great expense, is significant on so many levels.

And I understand that there was a huge gathering this morning in Argentina with an all-night vigil, especially a large gathering of young people. And they're watching live on JumboTrons in one of the large squares in Buenos Aires this morning.

BERMAN: And as John Allen pointed out, the pope himself asked the people of Argentina not to come to Rome. But to stay in Argentina. So, the money they might have used to travel instead could perhaps go to the poor.

HILGARTNER: A beautiful symbol, at the start of his pontificate for his care and concern for these in need.

SAMBOLIN: Raymond, can we talk about what's happening right now?

ARROYO: This is a procession of the gospel. It will make the rounds of the dais here. And then it will be read. And, of course, we'll hear the papal homily, which is a much sought-after part of this mass, something everyone will be looking for and forward to.

This pope has been very unorthodox, you could say, in the way in which he delivers the homily. Certainly not in the content, but he's very laidback. He leans on the arm. He winks. He tells jokes. Watching him up close in the last few days in Rome has really been fascinating, and to watch the reaction of people.

It isn't the content that's changing. It's the way in which it's delivered. And people find it refreshing. And they're listening, perhaps, in a new way.

BERMAN: And we will be hanging on every word when the pope does delivers his homily there to see if he does go off text.

What we're looking, right now, is the gospel, which will be delivered in Greek. And I'm hoping John Allen is with me, so he can explain the significance of that.

There's meaning in everything we're seeing here this morning. The fact this gospel is in Greek is very significant.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Yes, it is. In part, of course, because the Catholic Church includes not just the Latin Church, that is the western church. But also 22 eastern rite churches in full communion with Rome. And for many of those churches, Greek is the main language.

Also, of course, today, for the inaugural mass, the pope is being joined by Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the first among in the orthodox world.

So, the use of Greek here is really an expression of the universality of the Catholic Church. The word "Catholic", of course, means universal. That's what the word signifies.

And the use of Greek here is intended by Pope Francis to express that. As Monsignor Hilgartner was saying earlier, typically at papal masses, the gospel reading would be chanted twice. Once in Latin, once in Greek. John Paul used to talk about the need for the Catholic Church to breathe with both lungs. Its Latin lung and its Greek lung, it's western lung and it's eastern lung.

Today, for the sake of brevity, we're going to do the gospel in Greek. And then, of course, Pope Francis will give his homily, his reflections on the gospel.

And as we've been saying all morning, one thing you have to be careful about with Pope Francis, is that even though we have a prepared text in front of us, that doesn't mean what we're going to actually get. This is a pope who has a kind of genius for going off-script and keeping us on our toes.

SAMBOLIN: And also for being humorous, I have to add, because, you know, when he first appeared on the balcony, he was funny. And you have to think that the cardinals who were going in to elect him know this part of his personality. And how much did that weigh in to choosing him?

Even when they were at dinner afterwards, they were there with the cardinals. What did he say? He said, may God forgive them.

HILGARTNER: May God forgive you --

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: I mean, I thought that was just -- it was just a great way. They must have known that this was part of his makeup.

HILGARTNER: There were all these images of him the morning he greeted the cardinals after -- the morning after the conclave, the video images of him greeting the cardinals individually and there was a lot of back and forth. Clearly, a great friendship that has developed over the years.

He's been a cardinal for a number of years. So, it had present in the last conclave as a candidate, from what we understand. But clearly, he came from among that group and had a real personal relationship. And seeing them laugh and exchange stories.

And then the image of him yesterday with the president of Argentina, as they exchanged a hug and a kiss. And he invited her to stay for lunch, which is a bit unheard of with the pope and a head of state.

SAMBOLIN: Do you think we'll see that personality in the homily, Raymond?

ARROYO: Without a doubt. Not only that this particular pope, in his previous incarnation as archbishop of Buenos Aires, was the ordinary for the eastern churches, even though he was obviously the western ordinary. So, he has a real heart for these eastern churches, which is why this is perfectly in character with him.

I'm also told by a number of the cardinals in conclave, it was the brevity of his statement, as well as its humanity. That sort of drew them and awoken him to his candidacy and the possibility that this man could be pope. He wasn't on too many lists, I'll tell you, going in, even among the Protestants.

BERMAN: Our Jim Bittermann, our senior European correspondent, he's there. And this is nothing strange for Jim Bittermann. This is his fourth papal inaugural that he's attended.

Jim, I'm wondering if there's any differences that you've detected so far today.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think already, we've seen a fairly simplified version, a number of the processions have been shortened. There's also something -- it's hard to describe.

But there's almost a quick uptake. Used to be a lot of pauses between the announcement of some of the parts of the gospel, for example, and the singing or praying. It seems like it's a much tighter -- the organization is much tighter than we've seen in the past. I think we're also going to see here some shortened versions of the offertory.

I think that's somewhat less prestigious. Maybe a little less in the way of ceremony than we've seen in the past. But all this is not necessarily a bad thing. Already, we're probably looking at the mass that's going to go on for about two hours here, as opposed to 2 1/2 hours in previous inaugurals.

BERMAN: And, Jim, one of the pope's official jobs, his official title -- hang on one second, Jim. We'll get back to you in a bit. This is Pope Francis right now. We're seeing him. And he is about to deliver his homily.

We're waiting for Pope Francis to deliver his homily right now. This is the elaborate ceremony for the papal inaugural.

POPE FRANCIS, CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): Dear brothers and sisters, I thank the Lord that I'm able to celebrate this holy mass at the beginning of my Petrine ministry and the solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of Virgin Mary and patron of the universal church.

It's a coincidence that's very rich in significance. And it's also the namesake of my venerable predecessor. We are near him, in prayer, full of affection and gratitude.

With great affection, I greet my brother cardinals and bishops, priests, deacons, religious -- men and women religious, all the lay people. I thank for their presence, the representatives of the other churches, the ecclesial communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and other religious communities.

I offer my cordial greetings to the head of states and government, to the official delegations of many countries of the world and the diplomatic corps.

In the gospel, we heard that Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife. In these words, we already have the mission that God entrusts to Joseph, that of being the custos, the protector. Protector of whom? Of Mary and Jesus.

But it's a protection that extends to the church, as blessed John Paul II underlined. Just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary, and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ's upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ's mystical body, the church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model.

How does Joseph exercise this protection? This role as protector? With discretion, discreetly, humbly, in silence, but with a constant presence and a total fidelity, even when he doesn't understand.

From the matrimony with Mary, to the episode of Jesus when he was 12 years old in the temple of Jerusalem, he accompanies, tenderly in every moment. He's next to Mary, his spouse in serene moments and in those difficult. The voyage to Bethlehem for the census, and in the difficult and joyous times of the birth, the dramatic moment in the flee of Egypt, to the difficult search of the son in the temple. And then, in the daily life, in the house of Nazareth, in the workshop, where he taught his trade to Jesus.

How does Joseph live his vocation as protector of Mary and the church? And the constant attention to God, open to its signs, available to his plan. Not so much to his own.

And this is what God asked to David, as we heard in the first reading. God does not desire a house constructed by man. But he desires faithfulness to his word, to his plan. And it is God himself who constructs the house but with living rocks, signed by his spirit.

And Joseph is protector because he knows how to listen to God. He allows himself to be guided by his will. And for this reason, he's sensible, sensitive to the people who are given to him. He knows how to read with realism the events, he's attentive to that wishes around him, and he knows how to make wise decisions.

In him, dear friends, we see how to respond to the vocation of God, with availability, quickness. But we also see what is at the center of the Christian vocation, Christ. Let us protect Christ in our life in order to protect others, in order to protect creation.

The vocation of protecting does not regard just us Christians. It has a dimension that proceeds, and that is simply human, in regards everyone. It is protecting the entire creation, the beauty of creation, as the Book of Genesis tells us, and what St. Francis of Assisi showed us.

It's having respect for every creature of God and for the environment in which we live. It's protecting people, taking care of everyone, every person, with love, especially children, the elderly, those who are fragile and who often are in the outskirts of our heart. It's taking care of one another in the family. The spouses care -- protect one another reciprocally. As parents, care for children, and time, children, too, become protectors of parents. It's living with sincerity, friendships, that are a reciprocal protection and confidence, respect and goodness.

In the foundation, in the bottom of everything, everything is trusting, the protection of man. It's a responsibility that regards all of us, the protectors of the gifts of God. And when the man responds less to this responsibility, and we don't take care of creation and our brothers, then, there's space for destruction and the heart hardens.

In every epoch of history, unfortunately, there are Herods, who create plans of death. They destroy. And make ugly the face of man and woman. I would like to ask, please, to all those who have roles of responsibility, in the economic, political and social environment, all men and women of goodwill, we are all protectors of creation, of the plan of God, written in nature -- protectors of one another, of the environment. Let us not allow that signs of destruction and death accompany our journey of this world. But protection also means that we must take care of ourselves. Let us recall that hate, envy, pride, dirty the life. To protect means to be attentive to our own feelings or sentiments, our heart because precisely from our heart is where good intentions and bad intentions come out, those that build up and those that tear down. We must not be afraid of goodness, neither of tenderness.

And here, I'd like to add another note. Taking care of, protecting, requires goodness. It requires living it with tenderness. In the gospel, St. Joseph appears as a strongman, courageous, a worker. But in his spirit, there emerges a tenderness.

It's not the virtue of the weak. On the contrary, it denotes strength, capacity of attention, compassion, true openness to one another, of love. We must not be afraid of goodness and tenderness. Today, today, together, with a feast of St. Joseph, we celebrate the beginning of the ministry of the new bishop of Rome, successor of Peter, that brings also a power.

Certainly, Jesus Christ gave power to Peter. But what kind of power are we talking about? To the three-fold question of Jesus to Peter on love, follows the three-fold invitation. Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep.

Let's never forget that the true power is service. And also, the pope, to exercise power must always be more in that service that has its highest, most luminous peak on the cross. It must regard the service that's humble, concrete, rich in faith, of St. Joseph. And like him, open the arms to protect all the people of God and embrace with affection and tenderness, all humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the smallest, those who Matthew describes in the final judgment on charity. He who has hunger, who is thirsty, the weak, strangers, naked, sick, in prison, only he who serves knows how to protect.

In the second reading, St. Paul speaks about Abraham, who believed strong in the faith against every hope, strong in the faith against every hope.

Also today, among many, a gray sky -- many gray skies, we need to see the light of hope to give hope to ourselves. To protect creation, every man and every woman, with tenderness and love, is opening the horizon of hope. It's opening a little bit of light among so many clouds. It's bringing warmness, warmth of hope.

And for the believer, for us Christians, like Abraham, like St. Joseph, the hope that we bring has the horizon of God, that was open in Christ and founded on the rock that is God, to protect Jesus with Mary, to protect all of creation, to protect every person, especially the poorest. Protect ourselves.

This is a service that the bishop of Rome is called to take on. But all of us are called to make the star of hope shine. Let us protect with love what God gave us. I ask, in intercession of the Virgin Mary, St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Francis, so that the Holy Spirit accompanies my ministry. And to you all, I say pray for me. Amen.

(APPLAUSE)

BERMAN: You've been listening to the homily from Pope Francis, finishing with, "Pray for me, amen."

This was a very priestly, a very specific homily.

Monsignor Rick Hilgartner?

HILGARTNER: He did what all good preachers do, in bringing together everything that's on people's minds today. In Italy today, the patronal feast of St. Joseph. It's one of the highest feast days in our calendar, among all of the saints, after Mary and all the apostles, we have Joseph. So, we brought together what we celebrate in Joseph as the earthly father of Jesus and tied in how Joseph is that protector as the father of that earthly family. And what he did to instill these things in Jesus to allow him to be our savior.

And tied that together with his own ministry as pope, and really called all of us to be protectors of creation. So, he brought in ecological issues. He talked about protecting those in need. Protecting the weak and the vulnerable, which really brings to mind, protection of children, protection of the elderly. I love how he brought together how parents care for children and eventually, children turn and care for their parents.