Here is Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican’s take on the Pope returning to St. Mary Major today to recite the Rosary and dedicate his entire pontificate to her. He connects this to a reference to the devil that the Pope made earlier in the day, suggesting that Mary as an antidote to the devil will be a major theme of his pontificate.
Francis, Mary, and the Deceiver
Pope Francis returned to the Basilica of St. Mary Major this evening for the second time since he became Pope — the first time was at 8 a.m. on March 14, the morning after his election, to pray before an icon of the Virgin known as the Salus Populi Romani (“Protectress of the Roman People”).
He came to pray a Rosary and to dedicate his papacy to the Virgin Mary.
He also gave a homily this morning in the chapel of the Domus Santa Marta, where he is living. Once again this morning he mentioned the devil, referring to him as a “hater” who wishes ill to men and women, and who must be resisted by faith and prayer.
The coincidence today of these two prayers — one in the evening to Mary in her greatest basilica on earth, the other in the morning against the “prince of this world,” the devil, in a small chapel — seemed to emphasize a key theme of this pontificate: that the battle against the devil, against evil, is won with and through Mary, the daughter of Israel who was, and is, called “full of grace.”
And this explains a great deal about where this “Franciscan” pontificate is, and may be heading…