Is this the first papal selfie?
Pope Francis joins young Italian pilgrims this week at St. Peter's Basilica for a photo making waves on social media.
August 30th, 2013
12:37 PM ET

Is this the first papal selfie?

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

(CNN) - In another precedent-shattering moment for Pope Francis, the bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, successor of St. Peter and the head of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide has taken what may be the first papal selfie.

The pontiff posed for the photo with young Italian pilgrims Wednesday at St. Peter's Basilica.

The image of Francis mugging for a cell phone photo with the Italian teens charged through social media when the papal newspaper L'Osservatore Romano released the photo Thursday.

The group of 500 young people was visiting the Vatican from the Catholic diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio in Italy and had a private audience with the pope.

According to Vatican Radio, the pope told the young crowd he wanted to meet with them "for selfish reasons ... because you have in your heart a promise of hope."

"You are bearers of hope. You, in fact, live in the present, but are looking at the future. You are the protagonists of the future, artisans of the future,” the pope told the pilgrims.

“Make the future with beauty, with goodness and truth," he said.  "Have courage. Go forward. Make noise.”

Before the selfie shot around the world, the teens presented the pope with the gift of a wooden-framed illustration of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns.

Pope Francis receives a gift from Italian teenagers.

Italian journalist Fabio M. Ragona got his hands on the selfie and posted it to his Twitter account.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (502 Responses)
  1. hharri


    August 31, 2013 at 12:04 am |
  2. Herbie

    Wouldn't the Pope have to be at least touching the camera for it to be a selfie? But lets not fact sway the reporter's ineptness.

    August 30, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • CS

      There is no Herbie.

      August 31, 2013 at 1:58 am |
  3. Cantina Bell

    That kid is giving the pope a reach around.

    August 30, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  4. noillusion

    Those poor children are being brainwashed. Someone needs to tell them that there is no future.

    August 30, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  5. In Santa we trust

    I was hatched from an ugly bird. Can I be reborn, or do I get rehatched?

    August 30, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  6. XDReTarT

    The word came out just a few days ago and the meaning is already changed from solo pic to group pic?

    Cnn stop being so stupid.

    420 BLAZE IT FGT

    August 30, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  7. Ferit

    that's a selfie for the kid, not the pope.

    August 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  8. Jeremiah Diehl

    That's not a selfie though... A selfie would be if the Pope decided to take a picture of himself... He wasn't even holding the phone.

    August 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care


      August 30, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
  9. Colin

    Gawd I miss Chad. Why'd I have to be such a tool toward him and drive him off.


    August 30, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • Where is Chad?

      Actually on the contrary Chad had a bunch of women followers that harassed him regularly drove him away.

      August 30, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
      • Colin

        Where is chad

        A) Africa

        B) ran away from the crazy women

        C) wanted a break from 'what investigation have you done'

        D) Answers b and c

        August 30, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
        • Honey Badger Don't Care

          He went to Africa to spread AIDS, like all Catholics do.

          August 30, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
  10. Chandler

    Could Colin be any wronger about prayer, The Holy Trinity and The Bible?

    August 30, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • wolfpackbob

      There are tolerant believers and tolerant non-believers. And then there are intolerant believers and intolerant non-believers. Don't waste your time with intolerant trolls. Sadly, their pride has to be fed hourly with huge doses of arrogance. Kill them with kindness and move on.

      August 30, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Bye bye Colin!

        August 30, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
  11. Jessica McGwin

    Go viral father! Mother Teresa once said "love is like a fire it burns house to house" I bet she is just getting a kick out of our new pope.

    August 30, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Colin

      Well, probably not, given that she was agnostic. In one of her many letters, Mother Theresa wrote:

      Where is my faith? Even deep down ... there is nothing but emptiness and darkness ... If there be God—please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul ... How painful is this unknown pain—I have no Faith. Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal, ... What do I labor for? If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.

      See Kolodiejchuk, Brian (2007). Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. New York: Doubleday.

      August 30, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
      • Pastor Colin

        It is quite ok for Christians to feel agnostic about things.

        Have you ever read the book of Psalms? King David wrote things just like this.

        August 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
      • Pastor Colin

        "A sometimes apophatic experience of Christ, after years of much darkness and unknowing, Mother Teresa came to recognize and live the Christ experience as a knowing by his feeling of God's abandonment on the Cross, and his tears and need, his suffering and darkness at his time of the Cross and during his life. Mother Teresa found a union of understanding with Christ–through Christ a holiness of spirit and a gift to mankind. This is a work of religious history, through letters of intimacy; the work is a service of literary religious feeling and belief. "

        See Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. New York: Doubleday.

        August 30, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Amen

      She took a vow of poverty, chasity and obedience and maintained these vows until death to attest her faith in her God.

      August 30, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  12. Colin

    What really makes me laugh is how the Christian god, the Holy Trinity is not mentioned even once in the entire Bible. One would think that if this was God's book, he would at least rate a mention.

    August 30, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • Genesis

      "And God saith, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness,..."


      August 30, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
      • Colin

        What the hell does that have to do with what I said?

        August 30, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
        • Colin

          us = father, son, holy spirit

          August 30, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • Colin

          so, that's the best you've got? The truth is that the use of the first person prural in Genesis, proto-Isaiah and other very old Jewish texts is becuase the Jesw were originally polytheistic. It was only later that Yahweh emerged as the principal and then later as the only god.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Matthew

      Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

      Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

      As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”


      Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit all clearly present at one time.

      August 30, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • Colin

        Once again, it does not say they are three gods in one. Simply mentioning the three Stooges in one paragraph does not make them one stooge either. In fact, the concept of the Trinity was not even fully developed until about Aquinas' time. The Christian God is absent from the Bible becuase he post-dates it.

        August 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • Matthew 28:19

          " Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"

          The Bible seems to disagree with you, like most of what you imagine.

          August 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Did you know?

      Holy Trinity = the 3 ways God has revealed Himself to us

      August 30, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • He is the Alpha and the Omega

        Interesting observation, God revealed Himself to mankind as in
        OT-God the Father;
        NT- God the Son;
        Today- God the Holy Spirit.

        August 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Colin

          Ok, I was wrong. Sorry.

          August 30, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • The Rock

          It is alright.

          August 30, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
        • Russ

          @ He is the Alpha & Omega:
          your statement here on the Trinity sounds like modalism (or Sabellianism) – which from early on was rejected as a heresy. modalism is the idea that there is simply one God who manifests himself in three different ways. that is not the picture at Jesus' baptism, where all 3 persons of the Trinity are seen at once.

          Also, along those lines, your delineations (while clean & simple) do not match Scripture. Jesus himself says that the OT is all about him (Jn.5:39-40; Lk.24:27,44). Colossians 1 claims that everything was created through Jesus. And then there's the Holy Spirit, which is also referenced throughout the Bible. and Jesus tells us the role of the Holy Spirit is to point to Jesus (Jn.14:26; 16:13-14; etc.).

          August 30, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Billy Shears

      Mathew 28 (for just one of many examples): Jesus said go forth and teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.

      August 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
      • The Rock

        1 Peter 1:1–2 (NIV)

        To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient ...

        August 30, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
  13. bostontola

    The only evidence for the Christian god is personal witness. Humans' senses and understanding are easily fooled by illusions and learned bias. Witness testimony has been proven to be weak by DNA evidence and other objective evidence. Looking at the basis of Christianity, millennia old stories with factual errors and moral errors, and obsolete laws, you can only conclude that like all other man made religions, Christianity is false. If there is a god, it's not the one Christians worship.

    August 30, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Mirror

      I feel like I wrote that 🙂

      August 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Andres

      If it is not their God, why are you so concerned about it then. Find a God of your understanding and look for It and let the people that are content with their God go one with their lives. I for one was born and raised Catholic and don't consider myself to be Catholic in the evangelical term. But that doesn't take away from what is really important in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Although I may not be considered by some a Christian, I think I am by the spiritual principles I follow.

      Where did all started? Looking for the God of my understanding I found a reference in a book. The God was being called the Spirit of the Universe and it made it easy for me to start, coming from being declared agnostic years ago. After some time I was able to call that Higher Power , God. As I have continued trusting that God, I experience a growth in faith, outside of religion, living spiritually. Nowadays, I find myself using those prayers I would cringe at when hearing them, although for different reason, sign of humility.

      Live your life and let other live theirs. There is no higher spiritual plane than when you get to mater unconditional love.

      Hope it helps someone. Peace

      August 30, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
      • FYI

        That sounds reasonable.

        August 30, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
  14. NotaSelfie

    This photo is not the first papal "selfie" as the Pope is neither:

    A) By himself in the photo
    B) Taking a picture of himself


    August 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Colin


      August 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  15. Lionly Lamb Chops


    August 30, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  16. Colin

    Hey guys, anyone want to play school? I'll be the teacher and you can be my student! Yay!

    1. Colin?
    a. Colin
    b. Colin
    c. Colin
    d. Colin

    2. Colin?
    a. Colin
    b. Colin
    c. Colin
    d. Colin

    3. Colin?
    a. Colin
    b. Colin
    c. Colin
    d. Colin

    (Don't fret! As long as you answer "Colin" you will pass my imaginary class) Yay!

    August 30, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • Colin

      I have a better quiz. Please choose your favorite Catholic superst.ition from those below. For the one you choose, please say why it is any more ridiculous than the rest of the childish nonsense Catholics swallow and give an example of a non-Catholic belief which is just as stupid.

      (a) Grocery store bread and wine becomes the flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because a priest does some hocus pocus over it in church of a Sunday morning.

      (b) When I pray for something like “please god help me pass my exam tomorrow,” an invisible being reads my mind and intervenes to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to meet my request.

      (c) You can pray to a dead person for something. This dead person will then ask God to fulfill your wish. If this happens twice, this dead person becomes a saint.

      (d) A god impregnated a virgin with himself, so he could give birth to himself and then sacrifice himself to himself to negate an “original sin” of a couple we now know never existed.

      August 30, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • Brittney

        B is not just for Brittney, bith. B is for WRONG
        B. Prayer:
        So, when Jesus teaches his disciples about prayer, he makes it clear that God is not to be approached as some kind of cosmic vending machine, into which we can expect to deposit our prayer and out of which will come the thing that we seek, whether that be success or health or whatever. Prayer is not about magic, it is not about making our life something other than it is. God is not a wizard with a magic wand, waiting to wave it over the worthy and withhold its power from the unworthy. Life is not just about the happy parts that we relish. It’s also about the struggle and the suffering and the hard parts, all of which contribute to our growth as human beings and the deepening of the soul, whether we like it or not. What we need, Jesus teaches us, is not to have these struggles magically brought to an end. What we need is the friendship of God.

        And that is where faith comes in. It’s not so much about having faith in God’s existence, but having faith in God’s friendship as the one thing that we truly need to make it through all of what life is about. That’s the faith that we are challenged to have: the faith that God’s friendship is truly enough, truly the one necessary thing.

        August 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
        • Colin

          So, when the Catholic Church cannonizes saints based on prayers being answered they are deluding themselves?

          August 30, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • Dippy

          It's canonizes, not cannonizes.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
        • Brittney

          I'm nondenom, sorry.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
        • Colin

          Dippy do you ever have anything more substantial to asy than pointing out typos?

          August 30, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
        • Dippy

          Not under the name Dippy.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
        • Pastor Colin


          Listening to Colin try and tell others what prayer and God is all about, is like listening to a man telling a pregnant woman what being pregnant is like.
          The outsider can know things about it, but they don't truly know.

          August 30, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
        • Colin

          A nretreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool. "you would only know if you had faith" can also be used as a rational for astrology, devil-worship, UFOlogy or any other nonsense supernatural belief.

          August 30, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Uh hu

          You posts and comments are worth what you get paid for posting them:


          Ain't nobody buying what you are selling (except some goons named booty funk and blessed are the cheese makers)

          August 30, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Id cannonize the whole damn religion If i could find enough powder.....

          August 30, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
      • A loving atheist

        No rational group of adults (ie an accredited university) would accept your question as a legitimate criticism.

        It is too personal and not based in fact.

        August 30, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • Colin

          Really. And what belief did I misstate?

          August 30, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
        • A loving atheist

          The belief that you imagine you know better.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  17. Bootyfunk

    oh, i guarantee the pope has sent a whole lot of "selfies" to children all over the world...

    August 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Colin

      A caring person would point out that this comment is extremely uncalled for.....instead of worrying about proving his definition of "prayer" is the right one.

      August 30, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  18. Dave

    pedophile in chief

    August 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
  19. Colin

    Dear Catholics:

    God here.

    I don't care if the Pope takes a "selfie." In fact, I don't care about anything, because, you see, I do not exist. The concept of a 13,700,000,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet is ludicrous.

    Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was edited over the Centuries, yet you cite them for the most extraordinary of claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans have $ex at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human $ex would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human $ex is an entirely human affair?

    Sixth, I would have smited all traditional Catholics, (and evangelicals and fundamentalists) long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and yet you speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric even for me to contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Ninthly, had I existed, do you really think my representation on Earth would have such a history of corruption, retardation of science, financial misdeeds, political intrigue, outright criminal behavior and $exual misconduct, including pedophilia, as the Vatican does. I mean, come on! As a CEO, I would be fired for allowing my organization to run amok century after century.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.


    August 30, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Brittney

      omg TL;DR

      August 30, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • A loving atheist

      You are not God, Colin. Who is really going to read the rest of your diatribe after that? Really?????

      August 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
      • Brittney

        OMG! He thinks he is God!

        August 30, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        i did. 10+

        August 30, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • Brittney

          OMG That was quick!

          August 30, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Brandon

      Oh you think you are God? Now I've heard everything.

      Oh and btw, this article is about the Pope having a "selfie". It is not an article to debate on the existence of a God and a place to proclaim yourself over everyone else around you. In space, there a stars, moons, planets, galaxies, comets, and asteroids. They all revolve around one point. And that point is NOT YOU!

      August 30, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
      • FYI

        Yes, Colin thinks he is god. And his posts are never on topic. He will repost this spam again tomorrow.

        August 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • Brandon

      Oh and also, I didn't bother reading that extensive essay you did there. Why? Because as people in the ghettos say, "AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT!"

      You seem to have too much time on your hands, mate.

      August 30, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
      • FYI

        He has been posting this since 2010.

        August 30, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
    • hharri

      when you steal others' stories, you are a fraud. and, you are a typical lying, deceitful athie

      August 30, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
  20. Colin

    1. Prayer reminds us that we are not the solution to the challenges that grip our world but we have access to the one who transcends those challenges.

    2. A prayerless nation has no hope beyond the headlines.

    3. Prayer aligns us with God’s heart, purposes and blessings.

    4. Prayer is an act of humility that precedes honor.

    5. Prayer enlarges the heart beyond selfish motive.

    6. Prayer provokes the heart to consider not only what is but what can be with God’s help.

    7. Prayer is best prioritized when one asks God to change one’s own heart first.

    8. No matters of eternal value will be accomplished outside of prayer.

    9. Prayer is properly prioritized vigilance in a spiritually passive world.

    10. Prayer at its best is an offering of one’s self to be used by God as a part of the answer.

    August 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Colin

      Prayer hey? Isn't that where you think silen thoughts like, "Please God, help dad overcome his cancer" and a being powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, reads your mind and intervenes to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to answer them – in this case by altering daddy's fundamental cell chemisrty to cure his cancer.

      A nice stroy for little children but hardly something a rational adult should take seriously.

      August 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
      • Brittney

        how many rational adult should take you seriously?

        (booty funk is only 13 so he doesn't count)

        August 30, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • Colin

        Great Brittany, what part did I get wrong?

        August 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
        • Brittney

          The part where you azzume your idea of prayer is what another person's idea of what prayer is.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
        • Colin

          Oh nonsense Brittany. Prayer involves thinking silent thoughts – usually praising god or asking for something. God reads the prayer's mind and then reacts to it, either by beling pleased that the person praised him or by intervening(or electing not to) in human affairs in response to the prayer.

          Now that is basic Christian theology – and is supersti.tious nonsense.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
        • Brittney

          Nope. That is looney atheists pathetic understanding of Christian theology.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
        • Colin

          Brittany. Your ability to delude yourself is quite remarkable. Catholics are regularly exhorted by the Catholic Church to pray for (i) people who are sick; (ii) to praise God – i.e. the Hail Mary and the Lord's Prayer; (iii) to stop abortion in the USA; (iv) to help people survive natural disasters.

          So, they think these thoughts and God reads their minds, right? Or how does he become aware of their prayers?

          August 30, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
        • Brittney

          That is Catholic theology. Is said Christian theology.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
        • Colin

          And what I said applies to any Christian denomination I know. When you stop and actually thin kabout prayer, it reveals itslef to be Dark Ages claptrap.

          August 30, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Brittney

      The belief that an ancient, mystic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you eat his flesh, drink his blood, and telepathically acknowledge him as your lord and master, in the hopes that he will remove an evil taint from your immortal and invisible soul that was put there because a few thousand years ago a couple of nudists who were formed from clay and forcibly harvested body parts were convinced by a talking snake to eat enchanted fruit from a magical tree.

      August 30, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
      • FYI

        That ain't christianity, that is atheism.

        August 30, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
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