The Catholic Church's newly elected leader warned his followers that the church could become "a compassionate NGO" without spiritual renewal, news sources report.
"If we do not confess to Christ, what would we be?" Pope Francis said in a Sistine Chapel Mass with cardinals on his first day as the Church leader Thursday, the BBC reports.
"We would end up a compassionate NGO. What would happen would be like when children make sand castles and then it all falls down."
The 76-year-old Argentinean was elected pope Wednesday, Al Jazeera reports. He is the first Latin American pope, and the first Jesuit priest to hold the position.
Known for his reputation for humility, Francis also warned the assembled cardinals against "the worldliness of the devil," Al Jazeera reports, and, in a further sign of his humble nature, asked them to bless him before he would bless them, according to the BBC.
Formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis began his reign Thursday by meeting people in Rome and laying flowers in homage to the Virgin Mary in a basilica, Al Jazeera reports. He also prayed at the alter of St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order to which Francis belongs.