"When he invited me [onto the popemobile], he invited all priests to be near the people," Fr. Fabian Baez said.
As the Legionaries of Christ started their extraordinary general chapter, the cardinal overseeing the troubled congregation said scandal had taken a toll on its finances, but that members had made progress in overcoming the moral and administrative legacy of their disgraced founder.
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the papal delegate to the Legionaries, spoke in an interview with Vatican Radio broadcast Thursday, the chapter's first working day. The cardinal had formally opened the gathering by concelebrating Mass with members of the congregation the previous evening.
One list of those who have a "better chance" of being appointed cardinal based on historical experience contains 23 names. The trouble is there are only 14 vacancies.
Analysis: Pope Francis is generating the kind of Internet buzz brand managers dream of. But is he a victim of his own good press?
Surrounded by cheese sellers, shoemakers and bleating, baying animals, Pope Francis immersed himself in a lively re-enactment of a special day in Bethlehem.
He even let a lamb rest on his shoulders and greeted a tiny baby named Francis, who played the part of Jesus, when he visited a live Nativity scene Monday at the Church of St. Alfonso Maria dei Liguori on the northern outskirts of Rome.
Jesuit Fr. Antonio Spadaro wrote that both papal " 'detractors' as well as those who exalt him" twist Pope Francis' words for their own gain.
Analysis: Next month, Pope Francis will create at least 14 new cardinals. Where will they come from? Latin America? The Curia?
John L. Allen Jr.: At least eight papal storylines worth noting emerged between Jan. 1 and Jan. 6, typically a dead period in the Vatican.
Real life does not often generate an experiment to settle a historical debate, but Italian politics may create a chance to shed light on a biographical question about Pope Francis.
By comparison, during the year following the election of Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005, more than 4 million people attended papal events.