Pope Francis was officially installed this morning during a mass ceremony and highlighted the issues he hopes to emphasize as leader of the Catholic Church -- chief among them, protecting the environment and defending the poor and vulnerable.

“It was a message Francis has hinted at in his first week as pontiff, when his gestures of simplicity often spoke louder than his words. But on a day when he had the world’s economic, political and religious leadership sitting before him on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica for the official start of his papacy, Francis made his point clear,”the AP reports.

In other pontiff news, Religion News Service reporter David Gibson offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes account of how the new pope -- Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, of Argentina -- was picked.

“...Bergoglio’s name had not surfaced as an option in the week of closed-door discussions among the cardinals before the conclave, and Bergoglio had also dropped off the radar of most journalists. He was 76, and many cardinals said they would not vote for someone older than 70. Bergoglio was also reportedly the runner-up to Benedict in the conclave of 2005 and unlikely to return as a candidate.”