Pope Francis greets delegations after inaugural Mass
Napolitano, Kirchner, Rousseff, Mugabe, Biden among dignitaries19 March, 18:44
(ANSA) - Vatican City, March 19 - Pope Francis greeted delegations representing 132 countries inside St Peter's Basilica on Tuesday after the Mass to mark the start of his papacy.
In a break with tradition, the new pope stood to receive the delegates and dispensed with the ermine-fringed cape worn by his predecessors on the same occasion. First up were Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Premier Mario Monti with their respective wives.
Francis then greeted the president of his native Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, with whom he had met privately on Monday.
Other delegates to come before Benedict XVI's successor were Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the controversial Zimbabwean head of state, Robert Mugabe, who dodged an EU travel ban, US Vice-President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.