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Biography Pope Francis

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Pope Francis Pope Francis
Pope Francis
266th and current pope of the Roman Catholic Church, elected on 13 March 2013.


Pope Francis Biography

ENG: Francis (Latin: Franciscus; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current pope of the Roman Catholic Church, elected on 13 March 2013. As such, he is both head of the Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State.

A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was ordained as a priest in 1969. He served as head of the Society of Jesus in Argentina from 1973 to 1979. In 1998 he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2001 a cardinal. Following the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on 28 February 2013, the conclave elected Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first pope to be a Jesuit, to come from the Americas, and to come from the Southern Hemisphere. Francis is the first non-European pope since St. Gregory III, who died in 741.


Early life

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of Mario José Bergoglio, a railway worker born in Portacomaro (Province of Asti) in Italy's Piedmont region, and his wife Regina María Sivori, a housewife born in Buenos Aires to a family of northern Italian (Piedmontese-Genoese) origin. Bergoglio has been a supporter of the San Lorenzo de Almagro football club since his childhood.

He graduated from the technical secondary school Escuela Nacional de Educación Técnica N° 27 Hipólito Yrigoyen with the qualification of chemical technician. According to some sources (not including the Vatican), he earned a master's degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires. In the only known health crisis of his youth, he suffered from life-threatening pneumonia and cysts and had part of a lung removed shortly afterwards. According to Ukrainian Catholic Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Bergoglio was mentored by Salesian Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest Stefan Czmil and knows the Byzantine liturgy well.


Pre-papal career - Jesuit

Bergoglio entered the Society of Jesus on 11 March 1958 and studied to become a priest at the Jesuit seminary in Villa Devoto. In 1960, Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo San José in San Miguel, Buenos Aires Province; in 1964 and 1965, he taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada, a high school in the Province of Santa Fe, Argentina, and in 1966 he taught the same courses at the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires City.

In 1967, Bergoglio finished his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood on 13 December 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. In 1969, shortly after becoming a priest, Bergoglio had life-threatening pneumonia and three cysts. He told interviewers decades later that he had been between life and death for three days and had the upper part of his right lung removed. He attended the Facultades de Filosofía y Teología de San Miguel (Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel), a seminary in San Miguel. He served as the Master of novices for the Province there and became a professor of theology.

Francis was named Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina in 1973 and served until 1979. After the completion of his term of office, in 1980 he was named the rector of the seminary in San Miguel, and served in that capacity until 1986. He spent several months at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, while considering possible dissertation topics, before returning to Argentina to serve as a confessor and spiritual director to the Jesuit community in Córdoba. In Germany he saw the painting Mary Untier of Knots in Augsburg and brought a copy of the painting to Argentina where it has become an important Marian devotion. It has since spread to Brazil; according to Regina Novaes of the Institute of Religious Studies in Rio de Janeiro, this devotion "attracts people with small problems". He had an image of Mary Untier of Knots inscribed on a chalice he presented to Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.



Bergoglio was named Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and was ordained on 27 June 1992 as Titular Bishop of Auca, with Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, serving as principal consecrator. On 3 June 1997, Bergoglio was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires with right of automatic succession. Upon Quarracino's death on 28 February 1998, Bergoglio became Archbishop and was concurrently named ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who had lacked their own prelate. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio created new parishes and restructured the archdiocese administrative offices, led pro-life initiatives, and created a commission on divorces.

In 2000, according to a report in L'espresso, Bergoglio "asked the entire Church in Argentina to put on garments of public penance for the sins committed during the years of the dictatorship".

In 2007, just two days after Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum, Cardinal Bergoglio was one of the first bishops in the world to respond by instituting a Tridentine mass in Buenos Aires. It was celebrated weekly.

On 8 November 2005, Bergoglio was elected president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference for a three-year term (2005–08) by a large majority of the Argentine bishops. He was reelected to another three-year term on 11 November 2008. He remained a member of that Commission's permanent governing body, president of its committee for the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, and a member of its liturgy committee for the care of shrines.

According to Anglican Primate Gregory Venables, Cardinal Bergoglio invited him to breakfest and told him that the personal ordinariates "were quite unnecessary" and told him that "the Church needs them as Anglicans" after Pope Benedict XVI issued Anglicanorum Coetibus. A spokesman from the Ordinariates said that the words were those of Bishop Venables and not the pope. However after his election as Pope, Msgr. Jeffery Steenson, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter and Msgr. Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham both issued statements regarding the issue.

According to The Washington Post, "In one of his last acts as head of the Argentine Catholic bishops' conference, ... Bergoglio issued a collective apology for the church's failure to protect its flock" from Argentina's military dictatorship decades earlier.



At the consistory of 21 February 2001, Archbishop Bergoglio was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II with the title of cardinal-priest of San Roberto Bellarmino. As cardinal, Bergoglio was appointed to five administrative positions in the Roman Curia:

Member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the SacramentsMember of the Congregation for the ClergyMember of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic LifeMember of the Pontifical Council for the FamilyMember of the Commission for Latin America

That fall, when Cardinal Edward Egan returned to New York following the September 11 attacks, Bergoglio replaced him as relator (recording secretary) in the Synod of Bishops and, according to the Catholic Herald, created "a favourable impression as a man open to communion and dialogue".

Cardinal Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice. A simple lifestyle contributed to his reputation for humility. He lived in a small apartment, rather than in the palatial bishop's residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation and cooked his own meals.

On the death of Pope John Paul II, Bergoglio was considered one of the papabile cardinals. He participated as a cardinal elector in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI. In the National Catholic Reporter John L. Allen, Jr. reported that Bergoglio was a frontrunner in the 2005 Conclave. In September 2005, the Italian magazine Limes published claims that Bergoglio had been the runner-up and main challenger to Cardinal Ratzinger at that conclave and that he had received 40 votes in the third ballot, but fell back to 26 at the fourth and decisive ballot. The claims were based on a diary purportedly belonging to an anonymous Cardinal who had been present at the conclave. La Stampa reported that Bergoglio was in close contention with Ratzinger during the election, until he made an emotional plea that the cardinals should not vote for him. Earlier, he had participated in the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

During the 2005 Synod of Bishops, he was elected a member of the post-synodal council.

As a cardinal, Bergoglio was associated with Communion and Liberation, a conservative Catholic association of the faithful.



As pope his manner is more informal than the one of his predecessors. "He is really down to earth. He makes you feel at ease immediately," said Marco Miglionico, a doctor treating one of the cardinals, after Francis visited his hospital. On the night of his election he rejected using the papal limousine and instead took the same bus back to his hotel as the cardinals. At his first press conference, the Friday after his election, the Pope said about Saint Francis of Assisi: "The man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man," and he added "How I would like a poor Church, and for the poor".


Election to the papacy

Bergoglio was elected pope on 13 March 2013, the second day of the 2013 papal conclave, taking the papal name Francis. Francis was elected on the fifth ballot of the conclave. The Habemus Papam was delivered by Cardinal protodeacon Jean-Louis Tauran.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said that instead of accepting his cardinals' congratulations while seated on the Papal throne, Francis received them standing, reportedly an immediate sign of a changing approach to formalities at the Vatican. Similarly, during his first appearance as pontiff on the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica, the newly-elected Pope simply wore a white cassock; absent was the red, ermine-trimmed mozzetta used by the previous Pope Benedict XVI. Also absent was the gold pectoral cross usually worn by past Popes and other high-ranking Cardinals. Francis instead used the simpler one he wore as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

In Argentina, initial opinion following the election was divided; some support Bergoglio and admire his austere lifestyle, while others disapprove of his opposition to the Argentina same-sex marriage law and his behavior during the country's military dictatorship.

After being elected and choosing his name, his first act was bestowing the Urbi et Orbi blessing to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Francis began with "good evening", breaking with the traditional formality at this event. Before blessing the pilgrims, he asked those in St. Peter's Square to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and for himself.


Choice of name

At his first audience on 16 March 2013, Francis told journalists that he had chosen the name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, and had done so because as a new pontiff he was especially concerned for the well-being of the poor. He explained that, as it was becoming clear during the conclave voting that he would be elected the new pontiff, the Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes had embraced him and whispered "don't forget the poor", which had made him think of the saint. Author and Vatican reporter John Allen remarked that the choice of the name Francis sent a clear message to the Church about the new Pope's intention to let "the church of the spirit, a humble and simple community of equals with a special love for the least of this world.... shine through." This is the first time that a pope has been named "Francis" and the first time since Pope Lando's 913–914 reign that a serving pope held a name unused by a predecessor.

Francis also mentioned at the audience that some cardinal-electors had jokingly suggested to him that he should choose either "Adrian", since Pope Adrian VI had been a reformer of the church, or "Clement" as "payback" to Pope Clement XIV who had suppressed the Jesuit order.



Pope Francis, elected at the age of 76, is reported to be in good health due to his austere and healthy lifestyle. Physicians say that his missing lung tissue (which was removed in 1969) does not have a significant impact on his health. The only concern would be decreased respiratory reserve if he had a respiratory infection.

An attack of sciatica in 2007 prevented him from attending a consistory and delayed his return to Argentina for several days.





March 17,2013

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