5 questions about Pope Francis's inauguration

Pope Francis will be installed this Tuesday during a papal inauguration ceremony at St. Peter's Square, in a public event expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people.

New pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church will greet hundreds of thousands at ceremony

Pope Francis celebrates mass with cardinals inside the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican on Thursday. As the 266th pope, Francis inherits a Catholic church in turmoil, beset by the clerical sex abuse scandal, internal divisions and dwindling numbers in parts of the world where Christianity had been strong for centuries. (Associated Press)

Pope Francis will be installed this Tuesday during a papal inauguration ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. The public event in Vatican City is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people.

Does Francis officially become Pope during the papal installation?

No. Francis officially became Pope the minute he was elected and accepted the election.

"This is more ceremonial. The transition of power has already happened," said Robert Dennis, vice-president of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association and a teaching fellow at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

Who will attend?

Much like the wait during the conclave to elect the Pope, hundreds of thousands will cram inside the square. For this event, they will be joined by world leaders and dignitaries. Gov. Gen. David Johnston will be representing Canada, while Vice-President Joe Biden will make the trip for the U.S.

Argentine President Christina Fernandez, who has clashed with Francis in the past over a number of issues, will also be attending. But the Pope has asked his fellow Argentines not to come, saying the trip is too expensive and that that money should be spent on the poor.

Although his predecessor Benedict XVI is not expected to be in attendance, other religious denominations will be represented. Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, leader of the Church of England, will not be able to attend but will be represented by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

Hours after he was elected Pope, Francis sent out a letter to Rome’s chief rabbi Riccardo di Segni, inviting him to the event. The rabbi has accepted.

How will the Pope enter the square?

Many popes in the past were carried in by a wooden throne, said Dennis. While his predecessor Benedict XVI came into the square via a modified 'popemobile,' one could possibly see Francis walking through the crowds.

"How this Pope actually enters is going to be interesting, particularly since this man is reputed to be a man of great simplicity," Dennis said. "But at the same time there are hundreds of thousands of people who want to catch a glimpse of him."

What are the highlights of the ceremony?

As part of the ceremony, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran (the cardinal who announced the new Pope), will place the pallium — a woolen cloak embroidered with six red crosses — on the shoulders of Francis.


"Every bishop of a diocese receives the pallium. It’s a sign that he has pastoral care of the dioceses. As the Pope, he is also the Bishop of Rome," said Rev. Darren Dias, associate professor of theology at the University of St. Michael’s College.

"The pallium was certainly emphasized by Benedict, He had bigger pallium made to emphasize his pastoral function as the Bishop of Rome."

Angelo Sodano, the dean of the College of Cardinals, will place the Ring of the Fisherman on Francis’s finger. The ring symbolizes St. Peter, a fisherman by trade, and is a reminder to be a fisher of the people.

The cardinals will then pay homage to Francis, acknowledging he is the Bishop of Rome. For Benedict’s inauguration, 12 people were chosen to represent the church's diversity — three cardinals, a bishop, a priest, a deacon, a nun, a monk, a young married couple and two children. All kneeled before the pope and kissed his hand.

But Benedict made some modifications, meaning the act of "obedience" will be made by all the cardinals present, much like in past years.

During the ceremony, the Pope will also give a homily, hold mass and perform the eucharist and communion.

How has the ceremony changed over the years?

The ceremony used to be more of a coronation, with the new pope being crowned with a papal tiara. But John Paul I believed the symbolism of being crowned like a temporal monarch was out of date and wanted something simpler. He ended the practice of the papal tiara in 1978, transforming the event from a coronation into an investiture.