Pope Francis gets his own Fan Magazine “Il Mio Papa”
The 68-page Il Mio Papa (My Pope) will hit Italian newsstands on Ash Wednesday, offering a glossy medley of papal pronouncements and photographs, along with peeks into his personal life. Each weekly issue will also include a pullout centerfold of the pope, accompanied by a quote.
Silvio Berlusconi’s media empire has taken a surprising new direction with the launch of its latest magazine. Best known for celebrity titles full of paparazzi pictures, Il Mio Papa – My Pope in Italian – will be devoted entirely to Pope Francis. Scheduled for a print run of 3m for the launch issue, the target circulation is said to be 500,000.
“In fact, the current Pope is a figure who, thanks to his empathy, as well as the power, the courage and the simplicity of his message, has won over everyone, both the faithful and non-believers,” he observed.
“Various magazines publish the pope’s teachings, but they have an accord with us,” said the Rev. Giuseppe Costa, the director of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. A similar accord has not been signed with My Pope, he added, though the magazine should have known better “because we have a relationship with Mondadori.”
Rome is feverishly awaiting the inauguration of the new Pope Francis I. on Tuesday. Delegations from 132 countries, more than 80 heads of state met on Monday in Rome to attend the service for the enthronement of the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
The Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 179 countries. “We expect that about 250,000 people will attend the divine service,” reported the Vatican spokesman, father Federico Lombardi. The rough estimate of the Roman city administration is that up to one million people could attend. The Vatican is “certainly happy if that many people participate.”
Mugabe once again causes discord
The Italian government already raised the safety precautions up to a maximum, and the city of Rome, which has slightly more than 2.5 million has set all the machinery in motion to cope with the rush of the faithful. Thousands of security forces are on duty to ensure the safety of the heads of State and Government. Drastic restrictions of air traffic over Rome were put into effect. Snipers, bomb experts, dog patrols and motorcycle units are on duty.
The Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who had travelled to Rome despite an EU travel ban, caused polemic. Zimbabwe argues that the Vatican is a sovereign state and therefore not affected by EU travel ban. The EU travel ban against dictator Mugabe applies since 2002. However, the controversial African head of State traveled to Rome in 2005 for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. He also went there in May 2011, to attend the celebrations for the beatification of Pope John Paul II.
The Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina is the new Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis I. is the first Jesuit in the papal office and also the first non-European.
The Roman Catholic Church experienced a double premiere: for the first time in history there is a Pope who comes from South America. And for the first time a member of the Jesuit order holds the highest ecclesiastical Office. The Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope on Wednesday evening in the fifth round of votes. Until now, the 76-year-old had been the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Bergoglio’s name as Pope is Francesco (Francis), he is the first Pope who has chosen this name.
Supposedly second in 2005
Bergoglio is a surprise for most Vatican experts, although he had, according to a “diary” which in 2005 had been smuggled out of the Conclave by one of the Cardinals, received the second most votes after Joseph Ratzinger. His withdrawal paved the way for the later Pope Benedict XVI., the document says.
Like many of his compatriots, the new Pope holds both the Argentine and the Italian citizenship and speaks Spanish and Italian, additionally some German due to a sojourn in Germany, were he wrote his doctoral thesis in 1985. The graduate chemist is regarded a multi-talent – good cook, opera lover, friend of the Greek classic, Shakespeare and Dostoevsky, good swimmer and strong, although he is struggling with lung problems since his childhood.
Bergoglio is considered a modest, down-to-earth and ecologically-minded person. As the “Cardinal of the poor”, he uses mostly public transportation and waived episcopal splendor. He confirmed this impression in his first appearance on the balcony of the St. Peter’s Basilica.