Pope Francis

Topics: Pope, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI Pages: 5 (837 words) Published: November 3, 2013
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio took the papal name Francis, after St. Francis of

Assisi, and was elected as the new pope of the Catholic Church. It was on March 13,

2013 that white smoke rose from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel at the

Vatican and Pope Francis was elected the two hundred and sixty-sixth pope. He is a

pope of many firsts. The first Jesuit pope, first pope from the Americas, and first non-

European pope in more than a millennium. He is known for being humble, willing to help

the poor, and committed to open communication between people of different

backgrounds and religious affiliations. Pope Francis’ genuine concern for those less

fortunate members of society is a huge part of why I believe as pope he will bring about

positive change. Pope Francis can give Catholics many strengths to draw on.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires,

Argentina to Italian parents. Before his religious training he earned a master’s degree in

chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires. He then went on to study at the seminary

Immaculada Conception n Villa Devoto, Buenos Aires. Bergoglio entered the Society of

Jesus in 1958 and officially became a Jesuit on March 12, 1960. For three years he

taught literature and psychology at the high school level. Bergoglio studied theology at

the Colegio of San Jose and was ordained a priest on December 13, 1969 by

Archbishop Ramon Jose Castellano. Having reached his goal of becoming a priest,

Begoglio’s next goal was to become a professor of theology. After he did the final state

of Jesuit formation he went to teach theology at San Miguel, a Jesuit seminary. Father

Bergoglio made his perpetual vows in the Society in 1973 and was elected provincial for

Argentina. It was in Germany where he finished his doctoral thesis. Bergoglio is fluent in

German, Italian, and is native Spanish. Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Auca

of Buenos Aires in 1992. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was

elevated to cardinal on February 21, 2001. As cardinal in Argentina, he avoided the

glories of power and privilege. When he was elected cardinal he chose not to buy new

clothing and instead took the previous cardinals clothing to be altered to fit him. He

comes from a part of the world that has struggled with poverty and financial turmoil.

Many of his comments as cardinal make it clear he sympathies with those less fortunate

and destitute. He clashed with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as

cardinal over topics of gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives to which he


The name Francis that the new pope has chosen is identified with peace,

poverty, and a simple lifestyle. Taking on this name from a man who founded the

Franciscan order of friars has hit a chord close to home for me because my high school,

St. Anthony’s, was founded by Franciscan Brothers. Choosing the name Francis reveals

who he is and what we can expect from him. A willingness to help the poor and lead a

simple life. In Buenos Aires he cooked for himself and rode the public bus and shunned

luxury. He is admired by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I was impressed when after

being elected pope, one of the first things he did was reach out to Rome’s chief rabbi

Riccardo Di Segni and ultimately the Jewish people. The new pope invited Rome’s rabbi

to the Vatican for the papal installation in hopes on continuing positive spiritual relations

between Jews and Catholics. In his opening address he mentioned the Church’s close

relationship with the Jewish people. I look forward to witnessing the future dialogue he

brings about between Catholic and Jews as well as different religions. I was also

impressed with the advisory council that he put together to reform the...
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