'Put faith first'
Francis set the tone for his vision of the church's future in his first Mass as pope Thursday, held in the Sistine Chapel with the cardinals who participated in the conclave.
With solemnity, he delivered a short, unscripted homily about moving the Catholic Church forward, saying its leaders must put faith at the heart of what they do -- or risk it becoming nothing more than a charity.
"We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the church, the bride of the Lord," he said.
"When we are not walking, we stop moving. When we are not building on the stones, what happens? The same thing that happens to children on the beach when they build sandcastles: Everything is swept away, there is no solidity."
After the Mass, the seals were ceremonially removed from the doors of the papal apartment at the Vatican, although renovation work must be done before Francis moves in. The apartment was sealed after Benedict XVI's departure two weeks ago.
Pope of firsts
When Jorge Bergoglio stepped onto the balcony at the Vatican on Wednesday evening to reveal himself as the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, he made history as the first non-European pope of the modern era, the first from Latin America, the first Jesuit and the first to assume the name Francis.
He takes charge of a global flock at a time when confidence in the church has been dented by revelations of sex scandals and corruption claims.
A group representing the alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests wrote an open letter Francis on Thursday, requesting a meeting.
Before the conclave, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) had published a list of potential pontiffs who they felt might sweep their concerns under the rug, as well as a list of candidates they believed would lend an open ear to their concerns. Pope Francis was on neither list.
The 76-year-old is the first pope to take the name Francis. He does so in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, revered among Catholics for his work with the poor.
As pope, he brings together the first and the developing worlds. Latin America is home to 480 million Catholics -- around 40% of all those in the world.
The pontiff is seen as a conservative in doctrinal matters, as was his predecessor. As a cardinal, he clashed with the government of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.
However, Francis' first public appearance as pope -- when he appealed for the crowds to pray for him before he gave a blessing -- suggested a "different pastoral style" from that of Benedict, who took a more academic approach, said Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.
Also, on the ride back from the Sistine Chapel to the Santa Marta residence, he declined the papal car that had been prepared for him and instead took the bus with other cardinals, Lombardi said.
In Buenos Aires, Francis chose to live in an apartment rather than the archbishop's palace, passed on a chauffeured limousine, took the bus to work and cooked his own meals.
As a Jesuit, Francis is a member of the Society of Jesus, one of the biggest and most important orders in the church.
Jesuits are recognized for their exceptional educational institutions and focus on social justice. They have a reputation for avoiding positions of power.