The new pope then quickly made another kind of history, breaking with tradition in his first public act before the 150,000 people packed into St. Peter’s Square. Rather than bless the crowd first, he asked them to pray for him.
“Let us say this prayer, your prayer for me, in silence,” he told the cheering crowd shortly after being elected by cardinals in what was apparently the fifth round of voting on the second day of the conclave.
The willingness by Francis to dispense with tradition was interpreted by a Vatican spokesman as a sign he will be willing to chart his own path in other ways.
“We have a pope who probably upset some people tonight by not following the formula,” the Rev. Tom Rosica said.