Habemus Papem! Pope Francis I: Who is He?

These are gleanings from various web sites.

Pope Francis I, who was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was born December 17, 1936. He is the 267 pope of the Roman Catholic Church in a line that goes all the way back to the Apostle Peter. He is the first pope from either Argentina or the Americas. 

Reports vary as to whether he chose his name in honor of the Society of Jesus Francis Xavier or Francis of Assisi. He was promoted Cardinal in 2001, and before his election, served the archdiocese of Buenos Aires. He is one of five children. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1959. He was a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits.)

Based on what I’ve read, he has a history of supporting Catholic moral teachings in matters concerning the sanctity of human life and the sacrament of marriage.

This article from CNA/EWTN News has more details:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A respected Italian journal said Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, a 76-year-old Jesuit, was the cardinal with the second-highest number of votes on each of the four ballots in the 2005 conclave.

The journal, Limes, said its report was based on information that came from the diary of an anonymous cardinal who, while acknowledging he was violating his oath of secrecy, felt the results of the conclave votes should be part of the historic record. 

The journal said it confirmed the diary’s count with other cardinals.

Cardinal Bergoglio, who has also been mentioned as a possible contender in the current conclave, has had a growing reputation as a very spiritual man with a talent for pastoral leadership serving in a region with the largest number of the world’s Catholics.

Since 1998, he has been archbishop of Buenos Aires, where his style is low-key and close to the people. 

He rides the bus, visits the poor, lives in a simple apartment and cooks his own meals. To many in Buenos Aires, he is known simply as “Father Jorge.”

He also has created new parishes, restructured the administrative offices, led pro-life initiatives and started new pastoral programs, such as a commission for divorcees. He co-presided over the 2001 Synod of Bishops and was elected to the synod council, so he is well-known to the world’s bishops.

The cardinal has also written books on spirituality and meditation and has been outspoken against abortion and same-sex marriages.

In 2010, when Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, Cardinal Bergoglio encouraged clergy across the country to tell Catholics to protest against the legislation because, if enacted, it could “seriously injure the family,” he said.

He also said adoption by same-sex couples would result in “depriving (children) of the human growth that God wanted them given by a father and a mother.” 

In 2006, he criticized an Argentine proposal to legalize abortion under certain circumstances as part of a wide-ranging legal reform. He accused the government of lacking respect for the values held by the majority of Argentines and of trying to convince the Catholic Church “to waver in our defense of the dignity of the person.” 

His role often forces him to speak publicly about the economic, social and political problems facing his country. His homilies and speeches are filled with references to the fact that all people are brothers and sisters and that the church and the country need to do what they can to make sure that everyone feels welcome, respected and cared for. 

While not overtly political, Cardinal Bergoglio has not tried to hide the political and social impact of the Gospel message, particularly in a country still recovering from a serious economic crisis. (Read the rest here.) 

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  • http://jessicahof.wordpress.com/ Jessica Hoff

    Thank you for this Rebecca. I loved the way he asked us to pray fir him first.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I loved it too. I was misty-eyed about the whole thing.

  • Theodore Seeber

    Here’s a clue to who he is:

    Long Live Pope Francis I, enemy of BOTH moral relativists and neo-clerical Pharisees.

  • http://philomenasmile.wordpress.com Anna Dawson

    I know this is nitpicking (especially since it looks like it’s sourced from another site maybe) but in the first quote, it would be ‘né’. ‘Née’ is feminine :)

    Lol other than grammar-nazism, Yay!!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Thanks. I’ll change it.

  • Dale

    John Allen wrote a profile of Cardinal Bergoglio two weeks ago. It might be worth a look:

    Here is an excerpt:

    “Back in 2005, Bergoglio drew high marks as an accomplished intellectual, having studied theology in Germany. His leading role during the Argentine economic crisis burnished his reputation as a voice of conscience, and made him a potent symbol of the costs globalization can impose on the world’s poor.

    Bergoglio’s reputation for personal simplicity also exercised an undeniable appeal – a Prince of the Church who chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace, who gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work, and who cooked his own meals.”

    There is more at the link:

  • Kate

    In fact, he chose his name after Saint Francis of Assisi, not Saint Francis Xavier– which is important: rebuilding the Church, focusing on the Eucharistic, serving the poor… And choosing the name of the founder of the order that is the main “competitor” as it were of his own order is a beautiful way of letting the world know that he is Holy Father to all of us and a follower of Christ before Ignatius.


    • Rebecca Hamilton

      The first news stories to come out said St Francis Xavier. Then they switched to St Francis of Assisi. I’m going to wait and see how this shakes out. I anyone sees a definitive statement from the Vatican about this, I would appreciate it if you let me know.

  • ElKay G

    266th papa (not 267th). I think:-)