Pope Francis

A new pope has been elected:  Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentina.  He is the first non-European elected to that office in over 1000 years.  He will be the 266th person to hold that office.  He is taking the name of Francis (the proper form being Francis, not Francis I, as I posted earlier, since the first of that name is not given a number until there are others that need to be distinguished from each other).

I can’t believe that there has been no other pope named Francis, St. Francis being such a notable saint.  (See this for the possible significance of the name.)  At any rate, the election of this first South American pontiff is surely something of a surprise.   The top prospect lists of prospective popes that I saw earlier didn’t mention him.  I did find one that did, which I’ll quote after the jump, along with a video of Pope Francis.

From Top 10 contenders to become pope | wkyc.com:

CARDINAL JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO: Bergoglio, 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests. The archbishop of Buenos Aires reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope. In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world’s Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly. Bergoglio is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.


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  • fjsteve

    Since he’s a Jesuit, I immediately thought he took his name from Francis Xavier.

  • fws

    so he is a Jesuit. Interesting turn of history!

    We should pray that he rules his church well, and that the Holy Gospel will flourish and grow during his rule.

  • Grace

    The article below is from VATICAN CITY – CBSNewYork/AP

    New Pope, Francis I, Known As Humble Man With A Focus On Social Outreach


    Very interesting article – he bowed out the last time Benedict was made Pope. He had the second highest votes.

  • Grace


    Strange, how anyone can study the Word of God, and still believe they can pray to Mary.

    For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    1 Timothy 2:5

    Why not pray to the LORD? He’s the answer, not HIS mother.

    New Pontiff Is Pope Francis of Argentina
    By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27)
    March 13, 2013

    Excerpt from article:

    “”Brothers and sisters, I leave you. Thank you so much for the warm welcome. Pray for me and we’ll see each other soon. Tomorrow I want to go pray to the Madonna.”


  • fjsteve

    Yes, he’s a Jesuit; the first Jesuit Pope. The first Latin American–indeed, the first American–Pope, the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere, apparently the first Pope with only one functioning lung? That one might be hard to prove.

  • fws

    Grace @ 4

    Yes Grace.
    There is no promise that the Blessed Mother of God will hear our prayers.
    But there is a promise that we have One Mediator who is flesh like our flesh, knows our sorrows, and intercedes for us with is very blood!

    So we are to boldly call God “Our Father” and ask him whatever we want, ending by asking that his gracious and merciful will be done, and not our own.

  • Grace

    fws “So we are to boldly call God “Our Father” and ask him whatever we want, ending by asking that his gracious and merciful will be done, and not our own.”

    Yes, I know that – it’s firmly stated in my post @ 4 –

  • MarkB

    “Strange, how anyone can study the Word of God, and still believe they can pray to Mary.
    For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    1 Timothy 2:5
    Why not pray to the LORD? He’s the answer, not HIS mother. ”

    As a former Catholic born into the church and raised in a Catholic elementary school through the 6th grade, I can tell you that with my experience that: I was deathly afraid of Christ. Every time I was in the chapel and looked up to Christ on the Cross, I shuddered and feared that He would come down and slay me for my sins. If nothing else the Catholic Church and its priests and nuns taught me the Law exceptionally well. Now that I know not only the Law, but that I am reconciled through the work of Christ, my life is much richer and less fearful. Even so it took me over a decade to feel comfortable praying to Christ. All that indoctrination at a young age takes a lot of time to overcome.

  • #4 Kitty

    At any rate, the election of this first South American pontiff is surely something of a surprise.

    Yes, it’s as if Rome has given up on Europe.

  • Mary

    I fear my knowledge of the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina is lacking. I understand though that forms of animism and “voodoo” are all to common in many Latin American countries and has found it’s way in to the church. Is this the case in Argentina? Has this new Pope confronted it in his former role as a priest and a cardinal? If so has it been dealt with or quietly allowed?

  • Grace


    ‘Even so it took me over a decade to feel comfortable praying to Christ. All that indoctrination at a young age takes a lot of time to overcome.”

    Mark, I’m glad you chose to share your experience, it helps one to understand how a child brought up in the Roman Church might feel, and view Christ. I grew up much differently than you, my father was a pastor. I loved Jesus with all my heart, I loved to pray to God, in Jesus Name. I even had a dream, as a very little girl, that I sad on his lap, with a few other little ones. I had thought of that wonderful dream, only a day or so ago. It was comforting to me, to know HE loved me so much, and I could pray to HIM, anytime I wanted to.

    God bless you Mark

  • Grace


    I doubt very much if Pope Francis agrees to “voodoo” – Read the article below, he is a very conservative man.

    Pope Francis Called Gay Adoption A Form Of Discrimination Against Children
    Kelley | Mar. 13, 2013

    “Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been elected the new pope and will now be known as Pope Francis.

    Bergoglio, 76, was “runner-up” last time the College of Cardinals elected a pope because he “appealed to conservatives,” according to John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

    Here’s more from Allen:

    Bergoglio is seen an unwaveringly orthodox on matters of sexual morality, staunchly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. In 2010 he asserted that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children.


  • Grace

    As Cardinal, Pope Francis strongly condemned abortion, including in rape cases
    by John-Henry Westen Wed Mar 13, 2013

    “VATICAN CITY, March 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was Archbishop of Buenos Aires he defended the life of the unborn even in cases of rape, in very stark terms.”

    _____ This article is not to be missed. This is amazing. It includes:

    “supporting abortion, disallowing holy communion for anyone who facilitates an abortion, including politicians.”



    “In Argentina there is clandestine euthanasia. Social services pay up to a certain point; if you pass it, ‘die, you are very old’. Today, elderly people are discarded when, in reality, they are the seat of wisdom of the society,” he said, and observed that “the right to life means allowing people to live and not killing, allowing them to grow, to eat, to be educated, to be healed, and to be permitted to die with dignity.


    Euthanasia is supported by a number of physicians in the United States. This Pope, most certainly doesn’t mince words!

  • I do think the regnal name of Francis is largely a nod to Xavier than to Assisi. As for why it hasn’t been a regnal name before, on account of Francis of Assisi, I suspect it’s because he was a member of the regular clergy rather than the secular clergy. Though the two are certainly on ‘the same team’, there’s also something of a bright line between them.

  • MarkB

    Grace, thank you,

    You cannot imagine the relief I felt when I finally heard and understood the Gospel. It changed my life and God willing I will never give up the Gospel. Poor miserable sinner that I am, I cannot possibly get to Heaven on my own, so I rely on Christ’s work and grace to allow me to be a chosen adopted child of God.

  • Yes, he’s from South America, but ethnically he’s Italian and he’s spent plenty of time in Rome, so no real surprises there.
    I’m frankly more surprised they went for Jesuit, given that they are one of the more liberal-leaning religious orders today. I don’t expect him to be radical, but he could be more theologically moderate than we expect. Perhaps they hope he can overcome the iberal-conservative divide in the Church of Rome?

  • SKPeterson

    Well we all know that the most diabolical plots against man and America are fomented by the Jesuits. I offer this as definitive proof of their devilish treachery:
    No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

  • Grace

    SKPeterson @ 17

    Oh yes, if you go down to the LINK, SKPeterson gave, you will see HOME, click and you will be at the site below:
    Return to Pacific Institute’s home page <<< Click

    Then you can browse through the assortment of books they offer.



    LOL, SKPeterson that’s a hoot!

  • Gene Veith

    The Vatican is saying the name refers specifically to St. Francis of Assisi, not St. Francis Xavier.

  • mikeb

    Can someone explain the significance of Francis being a Jesuit?

    I know that the Society of Jesus is big into evangelism and I had always thought that they were highly orthodox. But from what I’ve read Cardinal Jorge was “missional”–forgive the Lutheran terms but its the best way I know how to describe what I’m saying–and that Jesuits aren’t known for being “confessional” Catholics (as in, deeply adhering to theology). But then all the stories talk about how firm he is in the Church’s pro-life, anti- gay-agenda, traditional (read: ‘evil conservative / out-of-touch’) Catholic teachings.

    So is Francis to be an outreach Pope–mission minded–at the expense of holding fast to their theology?

  • Grace

    My thoughts as the day closes to an end:

    I believe the ideas, and beliefs of Pope Francis 1, are very much what many of us are looking for in the church today. However, Pope Francis is Roman Catholic, and being so, he believes through “tradition” or otherwise, that which is ‘unsound, meaning, it cannot be found it the HOLY Word of God, to be truth.

    The world has no leader except the Savior, Jesus Christ, it has always been so. HE and HE alone leads us, HE is the one who shed HIS blood, none other. The world has gone through many changes, since Christ’s death on the Cross. But one thing stands sure-fast, and that is, Christ can only forgive sins, only HE has the power to change lives, and bring comfort to those who are suffering or sick, or in pain, heal the sickness, be it within the mind, or body.

    Churches today, are in a quandary, as to what to do. But alas, have they helped the poor, have the substituted their desires for the needs of the poor, or those too sick to help themselves?

    If the LORD Jesus came tomorrow, would you be ashamed, or quiver at HIS appearance, in all HIS GLORY? I would. What have we done to stand against what we know is sin, to take the Gospel to those in need, or those who are sinful, no matter what their sin, no matter how disgraceful their lives have been? I ask, because I haven’t done so.

    We must not let this pass us by: we must learn from what we’ve witnessed in St. Peter’s Square. These people are in pain, anxious for truth and justice. I don’t believe they are looking for an easy life, or to escape the pain of tomorrow. They are looking for truth, for selfless love for others, for Christ’s love for them, for HIS promises of Eternal Life. Are we spreading the Gospel, or are we standing on ‘rules?

    I’ve shed many a tear today. The world is going to change a great deal over the next days, months and perhaps further, but how far will the LORD wait to gather HIS church? How much time do we have, to spread the GOSPEL, not just our church doctrine, but the GOSPEL of Christ, that which is mentioned in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

    Just the plain GOSPEL! – That is what Christ Jesus left us with!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Ok: He has spent most of his time in Argentina, not Rome. The Jesuits have a reputation for being both orthodox and strong into outreach, as well as having a vigorous intellectual tradition. In other words, they are orthodox intellectuals that make it a priority to be “among the people”.

    How this will work out in his papacy, is just a guess at this stage.

  • Joe

    As to the Jesuit question it depends what you mean by Jesuit. They are really not an order of a single mind any more. They founded many universities and high schools and the Jesuits that are connected or affiliated with the universities are very doctrinally liberal. Their reputation for catholic orthodoxy dates back to their creation as an arm of the RC church to fight the counter reformation. Living in a Jesuit University town I can say I don’t know anyone around here hears Jesuit and thinks orthodoxy. (This includes the four Catholic guys, who were all educated in Jesuit schools, I watched the Papal announcement with yesterday). Instead, you hear Jesuit and think humanist thought dressed up in a cossack.

    My understanding is that the Jesuit reputation for catholic orthodoxy is well earned in other parts of the world. And, from what I can tell from the press reports the new Jesuit Pope appears to be an orthodox catholic.

    As for Francis – what I have been reading is that Francis of Assisi was such an important saint that it was kind of considered out of bounds to take his name. But I think it sends a strong message that he will clean house in the Curia and that he will re-devote the RC church to charity to the poor. That is the official RC take on who Francis of Assisi was a reformer who believed that it was the job of the church to be among the great unwashed.

  • Weren’t the Jesuits initially founded as a hostile response to Lutheranism and other Protestant groups?

  • Joe


  • PinonCoffee

    What do they mean, he’s been “modernizing” the “conservative” church in Argentina? I know so little about the Catholic church in Argentina.