Catholics around the globe are reacting mostly positively to Pope Francis' recent remarks that the church has become too focused on "small-minded rules" on hot-button issues like homosexuality, abortion and contraceptives.
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis has officially begun his ministry as the 266th pope, receiving the ring symbolizing the papacy and a wool stole symbolizing his role as shepherd of his 1.2-billion strong flock.
A cardinal intoned the rite of inauguration at the start of Tuesday's Mass, saying "The Good Shepherd charged Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep; today you succeed him as the bishop of this church."
Later a half-dozen cardinals approached the Argentine-born pope to vow their obedience.
The installation occurred in sun-drenched St. Peter's Square before tens of thousands of people, princes, sheiks, rabbis and presidents.
Pope Francis is warning that the Catholic Church's moral edifice might "fall like a house of cards" if it doesn't balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception.
Pope Francis reached out to gays on Monday, saying he wouldn't judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging news conference as he returned from his first foreign trip.
Pope Francis on Friday cleared Pope John Paul II for sainthood, approving a miracle attributed to his intercession and setting up a remarkable dual canonization along with another beloved pope, John XXIII.
Pope Francis says he never wanted to be pope and that he lives in the Vatican hotel to avoid becoming isolated.