Habemus Papam, everyone! The successor of Pope Benedict XVI, the first Pope in 600 years to resign, has been chosen. The new Pope, chosen after just two short days of voting is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aries. He is now to be remembered by his regnal title, Pope Francis.
Pope Francis is the first to don this name in honor of Francis of Assisi, a 13th-century monk known for his charity and kindness to animals.
So, who is this new Pope? Will his righteous charity reign over the world of Catholics like a basking light or will his strict adherence to church law try to reign in an ever-changing world? That is really for us to wait and see.
Pope Francis came from humble beginnings, which can explain his ways of simplicity that ruled his ways in Beunos Aries. His father was an Italian railroad worker and his mother was a housewife who raised Pope Francis as well as four other siblings. Pope Francis was born in Beunos Aires, Argentina in 1936 thus making him 76--two years younger than Pope Benedict XVI upon his coronation. Originally, Pope Francis has sought to become a chemist, but entered the seminary where he would later become Cardinal. Though, when he entered the seminary, he had never had dreams of becoming the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic world.
Pope Francis, in the 2005 conclave was actually a close runner up in the vote. This would explain why the 2013 vote was so quick. Back in 2005, the other cardinals found him too grim, complaining that he "never smiled". Apparently, they stopped caring or he changed his ways.
Like Benedict XVI, Pope Francis is a very conservative man. So do not think to see a modernization of the Catholic church anytime soon. Though personally wonder if he will continue using Twitter like Pope Benedict XVI did.
If you are a catholic homosexual who was hoping for a Pope that would welcome homosexuals back into the church, sadly you have to keep on waiting. This is not the Pope for you. Pope Francis strongly advocated against gay marriage in Argentina and also against homosexual couples adopting children. He also strongly opposes abortion, women priests, and married priests. All of which are forbidden by catholic church doctrine. The acceptance of gay marriage in the catholic church falls under the previously mentioned modernization of the church. Those who support modernization want to reverse previous dogmas of the church to adapt to the changing world, this sect is known as the liberal sect of the catholic church. Perhaps after Pope Francis, the conclave will be open to a liberal Pope, but it is really unlikely.
Political views aside, what Pope Francis is most known for is his humble nature. As Archbishop in Argentina, he lived in a small apartment opposed to a mansion that could have been afforded to him. From this small apartment instead of a chauffeured car, he took mass transit to the church and everywhere else. He also avoided being trapped in the office by cooking his own meals.
Fun Facts About Our New Pope
- When he was a young man, he enjoyed tango dancing with his girlfriend before discovering the wide world of celibacy or religious vocation
- In 2001, he washed the feet of twelve AIDS patients in an Argentine hospice. He views all people as equal, but being so against homosexuality, he probably did not much enjoy it. Though as to whether these AIDS patients were contracted the disease via homosexuality of dirty needles was not discussed.
- Pope Francis only has one lung. he had a lung removed after an infection in his youth.
- Pope Francis speaks Spanish, Italian, and German fluently.
- After being elected Pope, he did not sit on the throne above his cardinal electors, but rather on the same level of them. This humility was also shone when he rose away in the minivan that transported the cardinals instead of taking a private car.
- While being, in general, soft spoken he has a strong voice when it comes to issues against the church doctrine. For example, he once fought against Latin American priests who opposed baptizing children born out of wedlock.
- Pope Francis is the first Pope from Latin America. he is also the first Pope born outside of Europe in more than 1,000 years. He is also the first Jesuit Pope. He is the Pope of many firsts, thus explains his choice of the never before use regnal name Francis.
- He has been criticized by church officials for not speaking out against the military dictatorship over Argentina in the 1970s and 1980s. He had also been accused of kidnapping two Jesuit priest during this time when they refused to step down. He ordered them to back away from the fighting of the dictatorship and maintain a more conservative stance. He was never charged of kidnapping so these allegations may or may not be true.
- Before he left for the papal conclave, he told Argentineans not to travel to Rome if he was elected Pope. Instead, he urged them to give that money they would have used for travel to be given to the poor instead.
- Pope Francis earned his Master's Degree in Chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires. After than he joined seminary. During this time he earned a degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of Buenos Aires. Between 1964 and 1965 he was a teacher of literature and psychology at Inmaculada high school in the province of Santa Fe, and in 1966 he taught the same courses at the prestigious Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires
- Unlike many catholic church officials, Pope Francis is quoted as saying "condoms can be permissible to prevent infection", however being the conservative man he is, does not condone them in the use of birth control.
- Pope Francis, yet again showing his humble nature, did come out onto the balcony as the new Pope for the first time on his balcony in the traditional garb. He wore a simple cassock instead of the traditional red cape and papal stoll. He did not even wear the traditional Pope bling. Instead of a cross encrusted in gold and jewels, he wore his own usual simple cross.