Pope Francis meets with cardinals, pays tribute to Benedict XVI

Pope Francis met with the College of Cardinals on Friday, March 15, 2013.
March 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Pope Francis paid a heartfelt tribute to his predecessor Friday while meeting with the College of Cardinals.

The 76-year-old said Benedict XVI had "enriched and invigorated" the Catholic Church. Francis offered the respects while speaking with the cardinals who elected him on Tuesday.

Watch Pope Francis' first speech to the faithful on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica

He said Benedict had "lit a flame in the depths of our hearts that will continue to burn because it is fueled by his prayers that will support the church on its missionary path."

Before the start of the meeting, Francis tripped when he got up to meet the dean of the College of Cardinals, but he recovered quickly.

See the moment white smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney

Experts believe the new pope will stay true to his roots as pontiff.

"He is going to be a simple person. He is not going to speak in grand theological terms, he is going to try to say things simply and do things simply," said Vatican analyst John Thavis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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