Pope John Paul was invested as Bishop of Rome at a simple ceremony in the Basilica of St.
Pope John Paul was invested as Bishop of Rome at a simple ceremony in the Basilica of St. John Lateran on Saturday (23 September). The occasion included a visit to the City Hall in Rome to greet the Mayor and receive the keys to the city.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of people turned out for the ceremony, which was the first time the new Pope had left the Vatican since his election last month (August). Pope John Paul had just visited the City Hall to greet Rome's Communist-controlled government. Mayor Guilio Carlo Argan told the Pope that all Romans welcomed his election, but added that Rome was plagued by serious social problems.
Pope John Paul said he was aware of the city's problems and he is particularly sensitive to the torment of human and family situations. After the meeting the Pope moved through cheering crowds to the Basilica of St. John Lateran for his investiture as the Bishop of Rome.
It is traditional for the Pope to receive the keys of Rome when he also automatically becomes bishop of the city. The simple ceremony was attended by several cardinals.
Pope John Paul received the Cardinals and was later handed the Keys of the Basilica by the vicar of Rome, Cardinal Ugo Poletti. He was seated on the traditional gilded throne of the Bishop of Rome.
The subject of the day, raised by the mayor was the recent upsurge of violence and terrorism. Pope John Paul said that more love would help. He said that each individual must decide what to do to benefit society, and loving kindness and forgiveness were sentiments which would do much to help overcome violence.
The role of Bishop of the city is largely ceremonial. On most occasions the Vicar of Rome, Cardinal Poletti, stands in for the Pope as the leader of the congregation of Rome.