Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Pope Francis ad libs for crowd of 150,000

Pope Francis delivers his Angelus prayer from the window of his studio
Pope Francis delivers his Angelus prayer from the window of his studio

New Catholic leader Pope Francis has broken with tradition as he delivered off-the-cuff remarks about God's power to forgive instead of reading from a written speech for the first Sunday window appearance of his papacy.

He also spoke only in Italian – beginning with "buon giorno" (Good day) and ending with "buon pranzo" (Have a good lunch).

His comments and humour delighted a crowd of more than 150,000 in St Peter's Square, drawing cheers and laughter.

In just five days, Francis' straightforward, spontaneous style has become an immediate hallmark of his papacy.

Earlier yesterday, he made an impromptu appearance before the public from a side gate of the Vatican, startling passers-by and prompting cheers, before delivering a six-minute homily at the Vatican's tiny parish church.

Before he entered St Anna's church to celebrate Mass, he heartily shook hands with parishioners and kissed babies in the crowd.

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