The first pope from the New World must now confront some old problems. He's begun his first full day as head of the church by slipping out of the Vatican to visit an ancient basilica. There, he quietly prayed with priests.
After his election as pope Wednesday, Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose a name that, for many Catholics, sent an immediate signal of his goal to unite the Roman Catholic Church: Pope Francis. The name also prompted some confusion — over whether it should include "I."
Pope Francis is the first pope from Latin America, a choice that makes sense strategically as the church becomes less Europe-centric. But how he will direct the church, which is still dealing with the fallout of the sexual abuse crisis and other challenges, remains unclear.
One of the first personal tidbits to emerge about Pope Francis: He cooks for himself. But austerity and humility are two of the new pontiff's defining characteristics. And they seem to extend to his eating habits.
The Syrians are believed to have hundreds of tons of chemical agents. NPR has learned that the 82nd Airborne Division just wrapped up a nine-day training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., to get ready for a possible mission to deal with those deadly chemicals.
Melissa Block speaks with theology professor Chad Pecknold, of the Catholic University of America, about what might make up the Catholic Church's agenda under the new pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
At the Vatican on Wednesday it was announced that Jorge Mario Bergoglio would be the first-ever Jesuit pope. Melissa Block speaks with Father Robert Ballecer of the Jesuit Conference of the United States about the significance of the first Jesuit pope.
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