The Pope celebrates Mass in the Sistine Chapel

17.21 GMT: Thank you for following our live blog. We are calling it a day now, but will be back tomorrow. All of you, have a good evening.

17.17 GMT: Ite Missa Est.

17.14 GMT: The Pope has given quite a quick blessing. The Mass has ended.

17.13 GMT: Pope Francis is even winning over staff at the Guardian. Deputy editor Ian Katz tweets:

Got to admire new Pope’s style: turns down gold cross, takes bus back to hotel, picks up own suitcases

17.09 GMT: Thirsty Gargoyle tweets:

Nice. Bidding prayer for his holiness Benedict XVI who serves the Church in silence. I’d like to see that become common practice.

17.08 GMT: One of the most striking figures among the cardinals is Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in India. He was made a cardinal in November 2012. At 53, he is the youngest member of the College of Cardinals.

17.05 GMT: Pope Francis’s first homily was delivered in Italian, unlike Benedict XVI, who gave his in Latin. It was notable for its simplicity, and was seemingly off the cuff (he was not reading from a text, as Pope Benedict XVI used to do). He said: “He who does not pray to the Lord prays to the Devil, he who does not confess to Christ, he is confessing … to the Devil.” A rough translation of the homily is below.

17.02 GMT: Priests are distributing Holy Communion to religious and lay people as well as people in the choir.

17.01 GMT: The cardinals are taking Holy Communion, not receiving it, since they have been concelebrating Mass with the Pope.

16.58 GMT: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” The Pope has received Holy Communion.

16.54 (Apologies – we’ve had technical problems.) The cardinals are now sharing the Sign of Peace.

16.48 The consecration of the Host is taking place.

16.44 GMT: The preface and the Eucharistic prayer will be in Latin.

16.43 GMT: Pope Francis is incensing the altar.

16.39 GMT: We’ve reached the end of the bidding prayers.

16.38 GMT: Here is a rough translation of the Pope’s homily. Apologies for any ellipses and errors. [We have replaced our initial translation below with a more accurate one.]

In these three readings I see that there is something in common: it is movement. In the first reading, movement is the journey [itself]; in the second reading, movement is in the up-building of the Church. In the third, in the Gospel, the movement is in [the act of] profession: walking, building, professing.

Walking: the House of Jacob. “O house of Jacob, Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” This is the first thing God said to Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” Walking: our life is a journey and when we stop, there is something wrong. Walking always, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with that blamelessness, which God asks of Abraham, in his promise.

Building: to build the Church. There is talk of stones: stones have consistency, but [the stones spoken of are] living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, the cornerstone of which is the same Lord. With [every] movement in our lives, let us build!

Third, professing: we can walk as much we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a compassionate NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ. When one does not walk, one stalls. When one does not built on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency. When one does not profess Jesus Christ – I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy – “Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.” When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.

Walking, building-constructing, professing: the thing, however, is not so easy, because in walking, in building, in professing, there are sometimes shake-ups – there are movements that are not part of the path: there are movements that pull us back.

This Gospel continues with a special situation. The same Peter who confessed Jesus Christ, says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. This has nothing to do with it.” He says, “I’ll follow you on other ways, that do not include the Cross.” When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, Popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage – the courage – to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward.

My hope for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, that the prayer of Our Lady, our Mother, might grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ Crucified. So be it.

16.37 GMT: Extraordinary quote from the homily: “If we walk without the Cross and build without the Cross and confess in Christ without the Cross, then we are not our Lord’s disciples. We are worldly people. We may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes. But we are not disciples of the Lord.”

16.28 GMT: Pope Francis is about to begin his first homily as pope. We will be providing snippets.

16.23 GMT: The Gospel Acclamation appears to have a very modern setting.

16.21 GMT: The psalm is in Latin. The response to the psalm was “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”

16.15 GMT: A reading from Prophet Isaiah. The readings at the Mass are Isaiah 2:2-5, 1 Peter 1:4-9 and Matthew 16:13-19.

From Isaiah: In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

16.13 GMT: Pope Francis is celebrating Mass at a temporary altar set up in the chapel, not the altar fixed against the wall by the Last Judgment.

16.10 GMT: Now they are singing the Gloria, which is usually not sung during Lent.

16.10 GMT: Update from Fr Z: apparently 48 hours after Summorum Pontificum, then Cardinal Bergoglio arranged Holy Mass in the traditional Roman Rite.

16.08 GMT Pope Francis is singing the Kyrie eleison.

16.01 GMT: The cardinals kiss the altar at the first Mass of Pope Francis’s pontificate

15.59 GMT Cardinals process into the Sistine Chapel to prepare for Mass celebrated by Pope Francis

15.45 GMT: Salt + Light TV tweets:

LIVE in 20 minutes. Pope Francis’ first Mass with Cardinals in Sistine Chapel – Noon ET/9 am PT:

15.42 GMT: Herald blogger Francis Phillips, in a post entitled “Pope Francis – what’s in a name?”, points out that St Francis of Assisi was steelier than his popular image.

15.36 GMT: Cardinal Napier tweets:

“I shall be called Francis, in memory of St Francis of Assisi!” Words that made a grown man cry with joy and wonder! More was to follow.

15.31 GMT: Chris Bain, director of Cafod, says in a blog post that the new Pope will bring the spirit of St Francis of Assisi to the Church and the world.

15.07 GMT: Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, said to begin with he was, like everyone else, “astonished”. He said the Pope’s work with the poor would bring a “real cutting-edge of experience” to Catholic Social Teaching:

[Pope Francis] certainly brings some things that you can see immediately are great strengths. He’s from an Italian family, he’s
from a working class background, yet he’s studied in Germany, so he understands European academic life thoroughly. He’s a trained chemist, and therefore brings together in himself the world of science and religion which in our eyes are so often opposed. And all of these things, together with years of pastoral service to the poor make a remarkable combination and I think add to that tinge of excitement which we all feel.

Clearly he is going to have some continuity with Pope Benedict, and not only in doctrinal matters – because after all, the Pope is a Catholic. But he’s going to continue that sense that we must base our lives firmly on a relationship with Christ. And he in his own life clearly takes radical options in order to make that plain. So his [rejection] of prestige and of all the trappings of power mean quite clearly that he wants people to understand that the Christian life is based purely on a relationship with Christ. That’s something that Pope Benedict has said over and over again. But he will bring, without a doubt, some fresh agenda. His insistence on economic developments which produce justice and produce care for the poorest in society are very, very relevant to this country.

Over the last 200 years the Church has developed a whole pattern of thought called Catholic Social Teaching, in which in
this country there is an increasing interest. Now what it would appear to me that Pope Francis will do will bring a real cutting-edge of experience to the development of that teaching. He is associated with, he has worked with, he has been alongside people who are the victims of economic progress that doesn’t deliver for the common good. And I think that will give a real edge to the continuing development of that teaching within the Catholic tradition.

15.03 GMT: John Allen reflects on whether Cardinal Sodano’s homily at the Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff swayed the cardinal electors in the direction of Cardinal Bergoglio:

Bergoglio would have appealed to a current within the 38 Vatican cardinals who took part in the conclave, especially those who come out of the Vatican diplomatic tradition and prize the Holy See’s traditional role as a voice of conscience on the global stage.

For that current, a pope devoted to the peace and justice teaching of the church, especially solidarity with the poor, could position Catholicism once again to be a relevant political and social force in the early 21st century.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, seemed to hint at that vision in his homily for the Mass Pro Eligendo Romano Pontefice on Tuesday morning.

“The last popes have been builders of so many good initiatives for people and for the international community, tirelessly promoting justice and peace,” Sodano said.

“Let us pray that the future pope may continue this unceasing work on the world level.”

Those cardinal-diplomats represented 10-15 votes in the conclave.

Adding up 40 cardinals from the developing world, 20 European moderates and 15 diplomats comes to 75 votes, just two short of the magic threshold of 77 required to elect someone pope.

As a cardinal who never worked in the Roman Curia and who has a track record of criticizing careerism and ambition, Bergoglio would also have appealed to those cardinals seeking a reform of the Vatican bureaucracy – reform in the sense of a return to the Gospel as personified in Francis of Assisi, not necessarily the “Ten Minute Manager.”

15.00 GMT: The Pope’s authorised biographer tells the Associated Press that, with only one lung, the Pope shouldn’t run any marathons, but should be fine with the papal schedule.

14.41 GMT: A profile in the Wall Street Journal includes interesting details about how Cardinal Bergoglio resisted the 1976-83 military dictatorship:

Pope Francis told his Argentine biographer that he regularly hid fugitives from the Argentine government… And when two Jesuit priests were kidnapped, he said he convinced a Junta leader’s priest to call in sick so he might celebrate Mass at the general’s home and plead for mercy. The men were released.

14.32 Sorry, I can’t help it: another lovely picture of Pope Francis.

14.25 GMT: Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the US bishops’ director of media relations, writes:

Delighted cardinals walked about the North American College this morning as seminarians and staff congratulated them on a job well done, electing Pope Francis, the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere. Doing interviews into the early morning hours couldn’t dampen their spirits at breakfast.

Messages abound and one can expect to learn more from what Pope Francis does than from what he says. Instructions for what to wear for upcoming meetings suggest that the simple style he is known for continues. Today, the cardinals were advised to wear the black house cassock rather than the more formal red choir robes with white surplice. Asking the people in the square last night to bless him before he blessed them came across as startlingly humble. The prayerful silence that fell over the square revealed the new bishop of Rome already had touched hearts. There’s a new energy in the air.

14.18 GMT: According to ITV News, Maradona has compared the election of his countryman Pope Francis to his own infamous goal against England in 1986:

I am truly very happy and I am certain that my enthusiasm is shared by the whole Argentinian people.

Everybody in Argentina can remember the ‘Hand of God’ in the England match in the 1986 World Cup. Now, in my country, the ‘Hand of God’ has brought us an Argentinian pope.

14.13 GMT: Another lovely picture (though its authenticity hasn’t been confirmed):

Three popes

14.10 GMT: Here is the picture we mentioned earlier:

Pope Francis

14.00 GMT: Speaking on BBC2’s Newsnight, Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ, Master of Campion Hall, Oxford, said Jesuits firmly believed that there never would be a Jesuit pope.

He is the first Jesuit Pope, and there’s been a firm belief among many Jesuits that there never would be one. We are a large group in the Church; we’ve been missioned, and indeed reminded by Pope Benedict, of our work on the margins, and that didn’t seem to be a recipe for the election of a pope. So I’m delighted – but surprised! …

My hope would be that the Ignatian spirit, the spirit of St Ignatius, in which Pope Francis has lived his life, will have an influence on how he exercises this new ministry…

He managed to cram an enormous amount into his few words: both the colloquial approach, the plea for being prayed for, but then he spoke about being Bishop of Rome, the Church which presides in charity, and if he can recreate that as a live experience, that his role is holding together the community of the Church in charity, in mutual respect and love.

Also speaking on the programme, Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, a writer for The Catholic Herald, compared him to Pope John Paul I (“he didn’t wear the mozzetta, just a simple white cassock”) but also to Pope John XXIII. Questioned about Pope Francis’s age, he agreed that the papacy might not be long,

but it could be very significant. Don’t forget, Pope John XXIII, the pope who revolutionised the Church, was the same age when he became pope. This pope, in the photograph you have over there, looks very much like John XXIII and speaks very much like John XXIII – he speaks to the heart…

He’s called himself Francis, and St Francis is the pope of dialogue… St Francis is the builder of bridges. Particularly in Italy – St Francis is loved by the Italian Left. The Italian Left go to Assissi every year. Remember Pope John Paul II had this great meeting for world religions, in Assissi. St Francis is the guy who spoke to everybody. This pope will speak to people. He will communicate with people, and there won’t be any more dialogue of the deaf.

13.51 GMT: The Italian bishops’ conference accidentally sent an email last night expressing “joy and thanks” for the election of Cardinal Angelo Scola as pope. Since we, too, were one click away from reporting the wrong news, we feel a certain sympathy.

13.45 GMT: Fr Joseph Fessio, the founder and publisher of Ignatius Press, has said:

It is a brilliant stroke of the Holy Spirit that completely faked out the media (and me too, I have to say). A son of Ignatius takes the name of Francis. A man of Old World heritage who is part of the New World. Truly a Pontifex Maximus (which means “the greatest builder of bridges”). He’s solidly orthodox with a zeal for the poor. His model is the obedience of Ignatius and the poverty of Francis. How blessed we Catholics are in our popes!

13.43 GMT: This lovely picture of Pope Francis (when he was Cardinal Bergoglio) is being widely shared.

13.39 GMT: Some of the key details from the press briefing so far:

– Pope Francis chose to take the bus back to the Domus Sanctae Marthae last night instead of using a car with a specialised number plate.

– After having dinner with the cardinals, he spoke very briefly, and said: “May God forgive you for what you’ve done.”

– This morning the Pope visited the Basilica of St Mary Major and prayed at the altar where St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, celebrated the first Mass.

– He also went to the hotel he stayed at before the conclave to pick up his suitcases, pay his bill and thank the staff.

– Fr Lombardi confirmed that Pope Francis and cardinals will celebrate a Mass for the Church at the Sistine Chapel this evening. It is due to start at 4pm GMT.

– The Pope speaks Spanish, English, German, French and Italian, and will be brushing up on his Portuguese for World Youth Day in Rio.

13.26 GMT Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, is giving a press briefing. There is a live feed here.

13:15pm GMT: We’re back, and Fr Adolfo Nicolás, superior general of the Society of Jesus, has just issued this statement welcoming the election of a fellow Jesuit as Pope:

In the name of the Society of Jesus, I give thanks to God for the election of our new Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ, which opens for the Church a path full of hope.

All of us Jesuits accompany with our prayers our brother and we thank him for his generosity in accepting the responsibility of guiding the Church at this crucial time. The name of “Francis” by which we shall now know him evokes for us the Holy Father’s evangelical spirit of closeness to the poor, his identification with simple people, and his commitment to the renewal of the Church. From the very first moment in which he appeared before the people of God, he gave visible witness to his simplicity, his humility, his pastoral experience and his spiritual depth.

“The distinguishing mark of our Society is that it is . . . a companionship . . . bound to the Roman Pontiff by a special bond of love and service.” (Complementary Norms, No. 2, § 2) Thus, we share the joy of the whole Church, and at the same time, wish to express our renewed availability to be sent into the vineyard of the Lord, according to the spirit of our special vow of obedience, that so distinctively unites us with the Holy Father.

12.09pm GMT: Staff at The Catholic Herald are taking a break now. We will back at 1.15pm GMT – please join us later for live coverage of Pope Francis’s Sistine Chapel Mass.

11.56am GMT: Nigel Baker, the Ambassador to the Holy See has said that the news of the first ever Pope from the Americas has delighted the world.

11.54am GMT: John Thavis, one of the few reporters who predicted Cardinal Bergoglio’s emergence as a frontrunner, writes:

“This morning, the pope’s first act was to leave the Vatican for an impromptu visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in central Rome. No doubt someone told him: “But Holy Father, we need time to plan these visits very carefully.” He wisely didn’t listen. Yes, his presence snarled traffic and caused a major stir, but the Romans loved it.

“Instead of taking the main car in the papal fleet, a Mercedes with the “SCV 1” license plate, he rode in a more modest sedan.

“On the way inside the basilica, he stopped to wave to high school students across the street. After praying before a popular icon of Mary, he told confessors at the church to ‘be merciful, the souls of the faithful need your mercy.’

“Then he stopped personally at a clerical guest house where he had been staying in recent days, a few steps from Piazza Navona, to pick up his things and “pay his bill,” as he told cardinals the night before. One can presume his Vatican handlers offered to send someone else on this humdrum task, but Pope Francis did it his way.”

11.50am GMT: Speaking last night, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said:

“I would think that he has the experience and the abilities to take on the challenges of the Papacy. But maybe most important of all it would appear that he has the humility and the simplicity. We saw that this evening. He said to the great crowd, the huge crowd that was gathered there: ‘Before I give you my blessing, I want your prayers for me.”

11.47am GMT: Following the election of Pope Francis I, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said:

“He is a humble and very simple man. He is very intelligent. Above all I think he’s a holy man, he’s a spiritual man, and I think that he will bring a new kind of style to the Catholic Church. And here’s a man whose experience over many years, especially in his own country but also elsewhere – something of that love for poor people, and his own simplicity of life, I think will be a great example to people.”

11.41am GMT: Commenting on today’s announcement of the new Pope, Chris Whitehouse, Trustee of the Right to Life Charitable Trust and Secretary of the Catholic Legislators’ Network in Westminster, said:

“What a fantastic choice from Latin America. The Church universal will unite behind the new Holy Father who steps into a very large pair of red shoes. He will deliver strong leadership and a steady pair of hands on the tiller as the Church navigates the still stormy waters that lie. He lives a simple life and defends social justice. A big moment in history with our first non-European Pope – Pope Francis the First.”

11.39 GMT: Patricia Chalé, of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund said: “All of us at SCIAF are delighted by the election of Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope Francis I, the first Pope from Latin America. He is known as a true advocate for the poor and for inspiring others in undertaking works of charity. We look forward to his leadership and continued inspiration as we work to build a more just world for all.”

11.36am GMT: The Jesuits in Britain have released a statement about the election of the first Jesuit Pope:

“The Jesuits in Britain welcome the election of Cardinal Bergoglio – Pope Francis – with a mixture of surprise and great joy, and pray for God’s blessing upon his papacy. As a member of the Society of Jesus, he would never have sought such a high office in the Church but he will be accepting it in a spirit of service and humility, recognising his role both as Bishop of Rome and as the leader of the Catholic Church.

“The choice of the name Francis is both thoughtful and significant for the Jesuits. While acknowledging the qualities of St Francis of Assisi – his simple lifestyle and his role as a bridge-builder – Jesuits will also be mindful of the great Jesuit missionary and Companion of St Ignatius, St Francis Xavier, who committed himself to taking the Gospel to the farthest corners of the world, to those that had never heard of or experienced the love of Christ. Pope Francis will also have in his mind the instruction to the Society of Jesus of his predecessor, Pope Benedict, to maintain that missionary zeal of the Jesuits – to take the Gospel to those areas of human existence in need of God, to those who are marginalised and in poverty, spiritually as well as physically.

“The fact that Pope Francis comes from Latin America and has experience of working among the poor and the vulnerable will inevitably colour his papacy. But he also has a reputation as having strong leadership skills; he is renowned for being a good listener and for collaboration. These are qualities that will be crucial as he takes office as Pope – in working with his fellow bishops and in reforming the bureaucracy of the Catholic Church.

“The Jesuits in Britain offer praise to God for the election of Pope Francis and join the worldwide Church in prayers for him, in the service of God’s people.”

11.30am GMT: Ed West writes that the election of a non-European Pope is no shock. He writes:

“Several of the early popes were Syrian, and just as the centre of Christianity in its early years shifted from the Middle East to Europe, so now it is moving across the seas. The twilight of Middle Eastern Christianity is the great tragedy of our times, Syria also being the birthplace of Christian music, among other things. But the decline of European Catholicism is also sad, because what makes Catholicism so beautiful, aesthetically, its is Italian-ness, which during that country’s long cultural dominance of Europe inspired such art and devotion. Now, increasingly, Rome is a sort of museum and Europe is post-Christian. But the world goes on without us.”

11.28am GMT: Read our latest report: “Pope Francis: in his own words.”

11.20am GMT: The website has been busy overnight. Expect to see this, and others like it, whizzing around Facebook today:

11.18am GMT: President Barack Obama gave his “warm wishes” to Pope Francis.

“On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis,” Mr Obama said.

“As a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us, he carries forth the message of love and compassion that has inspired the world for more than two thousand years that in each other we see the face of God.

“As the first pope from the Americas, his selection also speaks to the strength and vitality of a region that is increasingly shaping our world, and alongside millions of Hispanic Americans, those of us in the United States share the joy of this historic day.”

11.12am GMT: The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission has welcomed the new pope and offered their prayers. They issued the following statement today:

Danny Sullivan, Chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, welcomed the appointment of the new Pope, Francis the First. He joins with others across the Catholic world in praying that the new Pope will have the inner strength to deal with the many challenges he faces.

“In particular, Danny Sullivan welcomed the new Pope’s clear commitment to the Church’s rich tradition of social justice and his deep concern for those on the margins of life and society. Danny hopes that this concern will extend to victims and survivors of abuse throughout the worldwide Catholic Church and that anyone within the Church, whatever their position, involved in any aspect of abuse will be robustly called to account. Only in this way will authentic healing be possible.”

11.07am GMT: David Cameron has described the election of Pope Francis 1 as “momentous.”

10.56 GMT: Some famous quotes from Pope Francis I

10.49am GMT: Pope Francis told Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle: “I have high hopes for the Philippines. May your faith prosper, as well as your devotion to Our Lady and mission to the poor.”

10.40am GMT: The Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) have welcomed the election of Pope Francis I who recognises “human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities.” Helen O’Brien, CEO of CSAN said:

“Pope Francis has been a tireless campaigner for the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of human dignity and the realisation of the Common Good.

“We look forward to drawing inspiration and guidance from his teaching as we strive to fulfill these fundamental principles of Catholic Social Teaching here in England and Wales.”

10.35am GMT: Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster has said that the election of Pope Francis I, who trained as a scientist, shows the harmony which exists between faith and reason. In a statement today Bishop Michael said:

“The election of Pope Francis I to the throne of St Peter shows the power of the Holy Spirit to renew and enliven the Church. Coming from Argentina Pope Francis I is the first non-European pope in a thousand years. He is also the first member of the Society of Jesus, the first Jesuit, to be the successor of St. Peter. This is also the first time that a pope has chosen the name of ‘Francis’, associated with the great saint of simplicity and poverty, St Francis of Assisi, and St Francis Xavier, the Jesuit missionary.

“I’m also struck by the fact that Pope Francis I trained as a scientist, having a master’s degree in chemistry and was a professor of theology. Pope Francis I is the pope for the 21st century who can show the harmony between faith and reason.”

10.28am GMT: Patrick Langrell tweets: “They say a picture is worth a thousand words: 1 photo, 3 popes.”

10.19 GMT: Bishop Malcolm McMahon, Bishop of Nottingham has released the following statement on the election of Pope Francis I:

“I welcome very much the election of Pope Francis. As a priest and a bishop, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has amassed a great wealth of pastoral experience which he can now share with the universal Church.

“St Francis of Assisi is reputed to have said, ‘Proclaim the Gospel always and if necessary use words.’ I am sure that Pope Francis will spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in all that he says and does, using his words wisely to promote in particular the Church’s social teaching, giving a message of peace and justice which the world needs to hear more than ever.

“The Catholics of the Diocese of Nottingham join their brothers and sisters throughout the world, Christians of other traditions, and people of all faiths and none in congratulating Pope Francis and praying for him, that he may have a long, blessed and joyful ministry as Successor of Saint Peter.”

10.15 GMT: Pope Francis I made an unscheduled visit to the Rome Basilica of Saint Mary Major early this morning with Prefect of the Papal Household, Msgr. George Gaenswein and Vice Prefect Leonardo Sapienza.

10.11 GMT: Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has released a statement following the election of Pope Francis I. He said:

““It is with the greatest joy that we welcome Pope Francis as the Successor of St Peter.

“Let us use this moment to renew our loyalty to the Pope and promise to stand steadfastly with Peter’s Successor in his witness to the faith.

“May this love adn loyalty which our faith in Christ inspires belong not only to this moment of rejoicing but continue in all the years ahead.

“Let us begin in prayer for Pope Francis tonight in the great responsibility he has accepted out of love for Christ and for His Church.”

10.06 GMT: The UK office of the Coptic Orthodox Church has just released the following statement:

“On the announcement of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis I, the 266 Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom said:

“I express my heartfelt joy shared with our Catholic brethren around the world on the appointment of Pope Francis I. We pray God’s joy and blessing upon our sister Catholic Church as it embraces its new father and shepherd, and we also pray for His Holiness as he commences this sacred ministry, strengthened and overshadowed by the grace of God.

“As Co-chair of the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum in the United Kingdom, I celebrate this day with my brother and Co-chair, His Grace Archbishop Kevin McDonald, members of our Forum, and our Catholic brethren across the United Kingdom.”

09.56 GMT: The Daily Telegraph leads with:

“Pope Francis the Humble.”

09.51 GMT: The Guardian’s front page today:

“Buona sera, Pope Francis.”

9.17am GMT: The Independent reports that the result was greeted with surprise by the Falkland Islands’ 50 Catholics.

9.15am GMT: John Thavis was one of the few reporters to notice Cardinal Bergoglio’s emergence as a leading candidate during the cardinals’ pre-conclave meetings.

9am GMT: Leading Vatican commentator Sandro Magister says the cardinals’ choice of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was “as surprising as it is brilliant”.

By electing as pope at the fourth scrutiny the archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the conclave has made a move as surprising as it is brilliant. Surprising for those – almost everyone – who had not noticed, during the preceding days, the effective appearance of his name in the conversations among the cardinals. His relatively advanced age, 76 years and three months, led him to be classified more among the great electors than among the possible elect. In the conclave of 2005 the opposite had happened for him. Bergoglio was one of the most decisive supporters of the appointment of Joseph Ratzinger as pope. And instead he found himself voted for, against his own will, precisely by those who wanted to block the appointment of Benedict XVI.

8.55am GMT: Fr Seán Finnegan, a parish priest in England, shares his first impression of Pope Francis:

I was rather impressed with his words, if only because they were so artless. This was not a man who had memorised his acceptance speech, like a luvvie at the Oscars. The words came from the heart, and this made up for what he lacked in eloquence. Asking that people pray with and for him was a genuine good idea —meaning both genuine and good. And a good beginning, especially as there was no extempore ramblings, but simply the traditional Our Father and Hail Mary. I would have been happier had these been in Latin, but he was, I think, stressing that he is first and foremost the Bishop of Rome. Indeed, he used no other title.

Well, it’s one of those situations when we don’t know what the future will hold. When his name was announced last night, there was none of the excitement that was attendant on the naming of Ratzinger, just puzzlement. Who?

At first glance he reminded me of Pope Pius XI in appearance; shortish, stoutish and with glasses. But we can’t judge a book by its cover. What was apparent was that none of the bling laid out in the Room of Tears came out. Not even a rochet, let alone a mozzetta. His pectoral cross was the one he wore as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

And those opening words; ‘Buona sera’, the equivalent of ‘Hello’. Bathos indeed, after all the fuss. And then he just stood there, with barely a wave, looking a bit like a rabbit in the headlights. Time will show whether this was simply sheer fright or part of his calm, unhistrionic, style.

8.52am GMT: Fr John Zuhlsdorf describes the experience of being in St Peter’s Square yesterday:

Lights went on in the loggia of the facade of the basilica.

The doors opened. Instead of seeing workers who would put out the old Pope’s arms over the rail, out came the Cardinal Deacon. The announcement was made.


There was a kind of shocked silence.

Instead of the eruption one might think, everyone was taking it in. Some told me later that they had a hard time hearing, but from where I was, in front of the obelisk… I heard every word.

It hit me.

Jesuit! American! New name! And… I know this guy!

More on that some day. I got to know him a little from when he came to Rome.

But the reaction in the piazza was not unlike, in some ways, the quite reception of “Woytyla”. Who??

He came out without all the trappings of office. He looked downward, almost to his feet, which is consistent with what I recall of this man of few words. I had the sense that he was, rightly, terrified.

In a few words he had people praying… people want to pray, you know, when there is a certain trumpet, certain voice to lead… praying for Benedict. And he began to pray…

Our Father…

The crowds took him up.

Hail Mary…

And that’s when I broke down.

8.48am GMT: A website is offering rough and ready English translations of recent texts by Pope Francis.

8.30am GMT: Welcome to our live blog on the first full day of Pope Francis’s papal ministry.

The key event today will be the Mass that Pope Francis will celebrate in the Sistine Chapel with the world’s cardinals. According to the Catholic News Service (CNS), the Mass will be closed to the public, but will be televised.

Earlier this morning Pope Francis made a surprise visit to the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome, apparently startling local residents and children on their way to a school nearby. Vatican Radio reports that he was accompanied by Archbishop George Gänswein, prefect of the Papal Household, and vice prefect Leonardo Sapienza.

Here is a run-down of Pope Francis’s schedule for the next few days:

At 11am GMT on Friday, March 15, the Pope will meet the College of Cardinals, including those aged over 80, in the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace.

On Saturday, March 16, at 10am GMT he will meet the 5,600 members of the media who reported on the conclave from the Vatican to thank them for their coverage.

At noon on Sunday, March 17 he will recite the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square.

His inaugural Mass will take place from 8:30am GMT on Tuesday, March 19, the feast of St Joseph, in St Peter’s Square.

On Wednesday, March 20, Pope Francis will meet “fraternal delegates” from other Christian churches and ecclesial groups, who attended his installation the day before.