(ROME) — The newly elected Pope Francis met with thousands of reporters Saturday morning for the first time since he was selected to lead the Catholic Church.
Before the pontiff addressed the media throng, a Vatican spokesman made clear that he would not be answering questions. Pope Francis did speak in 4-5 languages, showcasing his linguistic skills.
Much of the half-hour address was interrupted by laughter and applause, according to USA Today, as the former cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio showed a level of comfort at his new post.
Much of the pope’s address made clear that he was determined to make sure that the church understands the needs of the poor around the world. The Vatican gave approximately 5,000 credentials for the event, to media members from 81 different countries.
According to USA Today, the pope explained how he came to select his papal name honoring St. Francis of Assisi, a man who gave away his many riches to work with the poor. Pope Francis also revealed that one of the first things one of his fellow cardinals said to him after the election was decided in his favor was a simple message, “Don’t forget the poor.”
The message was similar to a speech the pontiff gave about a week before the secret conclave, in which he explained to the other cardinals that it was important for the church to focus on issues outside the realm of the Vatican.
In that speech, which helped convince many of the other cardinals that he was the right leader for the Catholic Church, Cardinal Bergoglio stressed that the core mission must be “humility, dignity and justice,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with his predecessor, Benedict XVI next Saturday.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Barbara Starr, CNN
Dave Gilbert, CNN
Mohammed Tawfeeq and Gul Tuysuz, CNN