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Pope Francis Celebrates First Mass At Vatican
Pope Francis has held his first Mass in the Sistine Chapel, urging the Catholic Church to stick to its roots and shun modern temptations.
It came a day after he was chosen as the first ever Latin American leader of the Catholic Church.
Addressing the cardinals who elected him, the 76-year-old Argentinian said the Church should shun worldliness and be more focused on proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ.
During his first homily, he went on to warn cardinals the Church risked becoming a "pitiful NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation)" unless it underwent spiritual renewal.
"If we do not confess to Christ what would we be? We would end up a pitiful NGO", he said, adding: "What would happen would be like when children make sand castles and then it all falls down."
All cardinals, including the new Pope, wore simple light yellow robes over their cassocks. Francis looked solemn and spoke in Italian, without notes.
The new pontiff's sermon was a stark contrast to that of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who read out his first homily in Latin in 2005, establishing his broad vision for the Church.
Francis was elected on Wednesday by 114 fellow cardinals after two days of secret balloting in the chapel.
He is taking the helm of the 1.2 billion-member Church at a time of strife and intrigue, with the Vatican rocked by a string of sex abuse scandals, by accusations of infighting within its administrative arm and by allegations of financial wrongdoing.
Later on Thursday, Francis was due to receive the keys to his papal apartments, which were sealed after Benedict's departure, although the new Pontiff will not be moving in until their renovation is complete.
A trip to see his predecessor Benedict XVI at the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo at some point during the next few days is also planned.
Francis, the first Jesuit pope and first non-European since the Middle Ages, decided to call himself Francis after St Francis of Assisi, the humble friar who dedicated his life to helping the poor.
With a reputation for frugality and modesty, he set his marker down from day one - shunning the official papal car for another with a Vatican plate, picking up his own suitcases and settling his hotel bill himself.
Before celebrating mass at the Sistine Chapel he enjoyed an unannounced early morning visit to a Roman basilica dedicated to the Virgin Mary and prayed before a Byzantine icon of the Madonna and infant Jesus.
Afterwards he greeted schoolchildren and commuters travelling to work.