The first 48 hours of the pontificate of Pope Francis have given the world a foretaste of what it is going to be like to have a Jesuit priest for the first time in history as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholic believers.Read the rest here.
Minutes after the election result was declared in the Sistine Chapel, a Vatican official called the Master of Ceremonies offered to the new Pope the traditional papal red cape trimmed with ermine that his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI gladly wore on ceremonial occasions.
"No thank you, Monsignore," Pope Francis is reported to have replied. "You put it on instead. Carnival time is over!"
It was just one small sign out of many this week that as Massimo Franco, one of Italy's shrewdest political editorial writers, commented in the Corriere Della Sera, "the era of the Pope-King and of the Vatican court is over".
It is fast becoming clear that the new Pope is not merely "low church," but is also at least moderately hostile to anything hinting at the high church ceremonial that his predecessor was seeking to bring back.