Do Not Forget the Poor: Pope Francis Explains His Name

The surprises continue. 

Today Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., archbishop of Buenos Aires, held his first press conference.  Speaking to 6,000 journalists gathered in the Pope Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, the pope ended the media speculation regarding his selection of the name “Francis.”

“Some people didn’t know why the Bishop of Rome wanted to call himself ‘Francis’. Some thought of Francis Xavier, Francis de Sales, even Francis of Assisi. I will tell you the story.

At the election I had the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo next to me. He is also prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes [O.F.M.]: a dear, dear friend. When things were getting a little ‘dangerous’, he comforted me. And then, when the votes reached the two-thirds, there was the usual applause because the Pope had been elected. He hugged me and said: ‘Do not forget the poor.’ And that word stuck here [tapping his forehead]; the poor, the poor.

Then, immediately in relation to the poor I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of war, while the voting continued, until all the votes [were counted]. And so the name came to my heart: Francis of Assisi. For me he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who love and safeguards Creation. In this moment when our relationship with Creation is not so good—right?—He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man … Oh, how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor!”

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    This is a good site to spread the word that our new pope is named after an ordained permanent deacon. St. Francis of Assisi did not want to be elevated to the priesthood but wanted to be able to read the Gospel at Mass. So he allowed himself to be ordained a deacon