Pope Francis (Latin: Franciscus; Italian: Francesco; Spanish: Francisco; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio;[b] 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as Bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City. He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio worked briefly as a chemical technologist and nightclub bouncer before beginning seminary studies. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979 was Argentina's provincial superior of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was created a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. He led the Argentine Church during the December 2001 riots in Argentina, and the administrations of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner considered him a political rival. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March.
Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy, concern for the poor and commitment to interfaith dialogue. He is credited with having a less formal approach to the papacy than his predecessors, for instance choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by his predecessors. In addition, due to both his Jesuit and Ignatian aesthetic, he is known for favoring simpler vestments void of ornamentation, including refusing the traditional papal mozzetta cape upon his election, choosing silver instead of gold for his piscatory ring, and keeping the same pectoral cross he had as cardinal. He maintains that the Church should be more open and welcoming. He does not support unbridled capitalism, Marxism, or Marxist versions of liberation theology. Francis maintains the traditional views of the Church regarding abortion, marriage, ordination of women, and clerical celibacy. He opposes consumerism, irresponsible development, and supports taking action on climate change, a focus of his papacy with the promulgation of Laudato si'. In international diplomacy, he helped to restore full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. Since the publication of Amoris Laetitia in 2016, Francis has faced increasingly open criticism from theological conservatives, particularly on the question of admitting civilly divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on 17 December 1936 in Flores, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires. He was the eldest of five children of Mario José Bergoglio (1908–1959) and Regina María Sívori (1911–1981). Mario Bergoglio was an Italian immigrant accountant born in Portacomaro (Province of Asti) in Italy's Piedmont region. Regina Sívori was a housewife born in Buenos Aires to a family of northern Italian (Piedmontese-Genoese) origin. Mario José's family left Italy in 1929 to escape the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini. According to María Elena Bergoglio, the Pope's only living sibling, they did not emigrate for economic reasons. His other siblings were Alberto Horacio, Oscar Adrián and Marta Regina. Two great-nephews, Antonio and Joseph, died in a traffic collision.
In the sixth grade, Bergoglio attended Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles, a school of the Salesians of Don Bosco, in Ramos Mejía, Buenos Aires. He attended the technical secondary school Escuela Técnica Industrial N° 27 Hipólito Yrigoyen, named after a past President of Argentina, and graduated with a chemical technician's diploma. He worked for a few years in that capacity in the foods section at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory where his boss was Esther Ballestrino. Before joining the Jesuits, Bergoglio worked as a bar bouncer and as a janitor sweeping floors, and he also ran tests in a chemical laboratory.
In the only known health crisis of his youth, at the age of 21 he suffered from life-threatening pneumonia and three cysts. He had part of a lung excised shortly afterwards. Bergoglio has been a lifelong supporter of San Lorenzo de Almagrofootball club. Bergoglio is also a fan of the films of Tita Merello,neorealism, and tango dancing, with a fondness for the traditional music of Argentina and Uruguay known as the milonga.
Bergoglio found his vocation to the priesthood while he was on his way to celebrate the Spring Day. He passed by a church to go to confession, and was inspired by the priest. Bergoglio studied at the archdiocesan seminary, Inmaculada Concepción Seminary, in Villa Devoto, Buenos Aires, and, after three years, entered the Society of Jesus as a novice on 11 March 1958. Bergoglio has said that, as a young seminarian, he had a crush on a girl he met and briefly doubted about continuing the religious career. As a Jesuit novice he studied humanities in Santiago, Chile. At the conclusion of his novitiate in the Society of Jesus, Bergoglio officially became a Jesuit on 12 March 1960, when he made the religious profession of the initial, perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience of a member of the order.
In 1960, Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo de San José in San Miguel, Buenos Aires Province. He taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepción, a high school in Santa Fe, from 1964 to 1965. In 1966 he taught the same courses at the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires.
In 1967, Bergoglio finished his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood on 13 December 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. 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.
Bergoglio completed his final stage of spiritual training as a Jesuit, tertianship, at Alcalá de Henares, Spain. He took the final fourth vow (obedience to the pope) in the Society of Jesus on 22 April 1973. He was named provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina on 31 July 1973 and served until 1979. He made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 1973, shortly after being named provincial superior, but his stay was shortened by the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. After the completion of his term of office, in 1980 he was named the rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel in San Miguel. Before taking up this new appointment, he spent the first three months of 1980 in Ireland to learn English, staying at the Jesuit Centre at the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin. After returning to Argentina to take up his new post at San Miguel, Father Bergoglio served in that capacity until 1986. He was removed as rector by the Jesuit superior-general Peter Hans Kolvenbach because Bergoglio's policy of educating the young Jesuits in direct pastoral work and in popular religiosity was opposed to the worldwide trend in the Society of Jesus of emphasizing social justice based on sociological analysis, especially promoted by the Centro de Investigaciones y Accion Social (CIAS).
He spent several months at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, while considering possible dissertation topics,, he settled on exploring the work of the German / Italian theologian Romano Guardini, particularly around his study of 'Contrast' published in his 1925 work Der Gegensatz. However he was to return to Argentina prematurely 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.[c] As a student at the Salesian school, Bergoglio was mentored by Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest Stefan Czmil. Bergoglio often rose hours before his classmates to serve Mass for Czmil.
Bergoglio was asked in 1992 by Jesuit authorities not to reside in Jesuit houses, because of continued tensions with Jesuit leaders and scholars, a sense of Bergoglio's "dissent", views of his Catholic orthodoxy and his opposition to theology of liberation, and his work as auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires. From then on, he did not visit Jesuit houses and was in "virtual estrangement from the Jesuits" until after his election as Pope.
Pre-papal Episcopate (1992–2013)
Bergoglio was named Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and ordained on 27 June 1992 as Titular Bishop of Auca, with Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, serving as principal consecrator. He chose as his episcopal motto Miserando atque eligendo. It is drawn from Saint Bede's homily on Matthew 9:9–13: "because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him".
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 Metropolitan Archbishop of Buenos Aires. In that role, Bergoglio created new parishes and restructured the archdiocese administrative offices, led pro-life initiatives, and created a commission on divorces. One of Bergoglio's major initiatives as archbishop was to increase the Church's presence in the slums of Buenos Aires. Under his leadership, the number of priests assigned to work in the slums doubled. This work led to him being called the "Slum Bishop".
Early in his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio sold off the archdiocese's shares in multiple banks and turned its accounts into those of a normal customer in international banks. The shares in banks had led the local church to a high leniency towards high spending, and the archdiocese was nearing bankruptcy as a result. As a normal customer of the bank, the church was forced into a higher fiscal discipline.
On 6 November 1998, while remaining Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he was named ordinary for those Eastern Catholics in Argentina who lacked a prelate of their own rite. Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk has said that Bergoglio understands the liturgy, rites, and spirituality of his Greek Catholic Church and always "took care of our Church in Argentina" as ordinary for Eastern Catholics during his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
In 2000, Bergoglio was the only church official to reconcile with Jerónimo Podestá, a former bishop who had been suspended as a priest after opposing the Argentine Revolution military dictatorship in 1972. He defended Podestá's wife from Vatican attacks on their marriage. That same year, Bergoglio said the Argentine Catholic Church needed "to put on garments of public penance for the sins committed during the years of the dictatorship" in the 1970s, during the Dirty War.
Bergoglio made it his custom to celebrate the Holy Thursday ritual washing of feet in places such as jails, hospitals, retirement homes or slums. In 2007, just two days after Benedict XVI issued new rules for using the liturgical forms that preceded the Second Vatican Council, 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). 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. While head of the Argentine Catholic bishops' conference, Bergoglio issued a collective apology for his church's failure to protect people from the Junta during the Dirty War. When he turned 75 in December 2011, Bergoglio submitted his resignation as Archbishop of Buenos Aires to Pope Benedict XVI as required by canon law. Still, as he had no coadjutor archbishop, he stayed in office, waiting for an eventual replacement appointed by the Vatican.
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, a church served by Jesuits and named for one; he was formally installed in that church the following 14 October. When he traveled to Rome for the ceremony, he and his sister María Elena visited the village in northern Italy where their father was born. As cardinal, Bergoglio was appointed to five administrative positions in the Roman Curia. He was a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Commission for Latin America. Later that year, 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 elegant bishop's residence in the suburb of Olivos. He took public transportation and cooked his own meals. He limited his time in Rome to "lightning visits". He was known to be devoted to St. Therese of Lisieux, and he enclosed a small picture of her in the letters he wrote, calling her "a great missionary saint".
After Pope John Paul II died on 2 April 2005, Bergoglio attended his funeral and was considered one of the papabile for succession to the papacy. 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. According to the Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli, this number of votes had no precedent for a Latin American papabile.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. According to Tornielli, Bergoglio made this request to prevent the conclave from delaying too much in the election of a pope.
As a cardinal, Bergoglio was associated with Communion and Liberation, a Catholic evangelical lay movement of the type known as associations of the faithful. He sometimes made appearances at the annual gathering known as the Rimini Meeting held during the late summer months in Italy. In 2005, Cardinal Bergoglio authorized the request for beatification—the third step towards sainthood—for six members of the Pallottine community murdered in the San Patricio Church massacre. At the same time, Bergoglio ordered an investigation into the murders themselves, which had been widely blamed on the National Reorganization Process, the military junta that ruled Argentina at the time.
Relations with Argentine governments
Bergoglio was the subject of allegations regarding the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests during Argentina's Dirty War. He feared for the priests' safety and had tried to change their work prior to their arrest; however, contrary to reports, he never tried to throw them out of the Jesuit order. In 2005, Myriam Bregman, a human rights lawyer, filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, as superior in the Society of Jesus of Argentina, accusing him of involvement in the Navy's kidnapping of the two priests in May 1976. The lawyer's complaint did not specify the nature of Bergoglio's alleged involvement, and Bergoglio's spokesman flatly denied the allegations. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed. The priests, Orlando Yorio and Franz Jalics, had been tortured, but found alive five months later, drugged and semi-naked. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the authorities that he endorsed their work. Yorio, who died in 2000, said in a 1999 interview that he believed that Bergoglio did nothing "to free us, in fact just the opposite". Jalics initially refused to discuss the complaint after moving into seclusion in a German monastery. However, two days after the election of Pope Francis, Jalics issued a statement confirming the kidnapping and attributing the cause to a former lay colleague who became a guerrilla, was captured, and named Yorio and Jalics when interrogated. The following week, Jalics issued a second, clarifying statement: "It is wrong to assert that our capture took place at the initiative of Father Bergoglio … the fact is, Orlando Yorio and I were not denounced by Father Bergoglio."
Bergoglio told his authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, that after the priests' imprisonment, he worked behind the scenes for their release; Bergoglio's intercession with dictator Jorge Rafael Videla on their behalf may have saved their lives. Bergoglio also told Rubin that he had often sheltered people from the dictatorship on church property, and once gave his own identity papers to a man who looked like him, so he could flee Argentina. The interview with Rubin, reflected in the biography El jesuita, is the only time Bergoglio has spoken to the press about those events. Alicia Oliveira, a former Argentine judge, has also reported that Bergoglio helped people flee Argentina during the rule of the junta. Since Francis became Pope, Gonzalo Mosca and José Caravias have related to journalists accounts of how Bergoglio helped them flee the Argentine dictatorship.
Oliveira described the future Pope as "anguished" and "very critical of the dictatorship" during the Dirty War. Oliveira met with him at the time and urged Bergoglio to speak out—he told her that "he couldn't. That it wasn't an easy thing to do." Artist and human rights activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said: "Perhaps he didn't have the courage of other priests, but he never collaborated with the dictatorship … Bergoglio was no accomplice of the dictatorship."Graciela Fernández Meijide, member of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, also said that there was no proof linking Bergoglio with the dictatorship. She told to the Clarín newspaper: "There is no information and Justice couldn't prove it. I was in the APDH during all the dictatorship years and I received hundreds of testimonies. Bergoglio was never mentioned. It was the same in the CONADEP. Nobody mentioned him as instigator or as anything."Ricardo Lorenzetti, President of the Argentine Supreme Court, also has said that Bergoglio is "completely innocent" of the accusations. Historian Uki Goñi pointed that, during the early 1976, the military junta still had a good image among society, and that the scale of the political repression was not known until much later; Bergoglio would have had little reason to suspect that the detention of Yorio and Jalics could end up in their deaths.
When Bergoglio became Pope, an alleged photo of him giving the sacramental bread to dictator Jorge Rafael Videla became viral in social networks. It has also been used by the newspaper Página/12. The photo was soon proved to be false. It was revealed that the priest, whose face is not visible in the photo, was Carlos Berón de Astrada. The photo was taken at the church "Pequeña Obra de la Divina Providencia Don Orione" in 1990, not during the Dirty War, and after Videla's presidential pardon. The photo was produced by the agency AFP and it was initially published by the Crónica newspaper.
Fernando de la Rúa
Already the first moment was telling. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires, stepped out on to the Benediction Loggia overlooking St. Peter's Square at 8:22 p.m. local time in Rome. And the first thing the world noticed about the new pope was what he was missing: the fir-trimmed papal mantle.
Pope Francis, the newly appointed religious leader of some 1.2 billion faithful, stood there humbly. He thanked the cardinals for choosing him, adding that they had gone "almost to the ends of the earth to get him."
Indeed, hardly anyone would have guessed that this Jesuit would be chosen. Other names had been floated in rain-soaked Rome. Some put their money on Scola, the Italian, while others thought it would be Schönborn, an Austrian. Still others figured it might be Scherer, the Brazilian.
And some concluded that if the cardinals were really courageous, it would be an African. But even if it wasn't, they still showed some audacity in choosing Bergoglio as the first person from Latin America to head of the global Catholic Church. On top of that, he is also the first person from the Jesuit Order.
21 PhotosPhoto Gallery:Habemus Papam
With Bergoglio, they have elected an unpretentious, down-to-earth man who is close to the people. Instead of using the luxury sedan supplied to bishops, he uses public transportation. Rather than living in the bishop's residence, he has a simple apartment. He even does his own grocery shopping and cooking. And, at meetings of the cardinals, he prefers to sit in the second row rather than the first.
In 2005, Bergoglio waived his candidacy to become pope, which benefited Joseph Ratzinger, who went on to become Pope Benedict XVI. In the third round of voting, up to 40 cardinals reportedly chose Bergoglio. With roughly one-third of cardinals supporting him, Bergoglio could have theoretically blocked any other candidate. But by withdrawing from the running he ultimately allowed Ratzinger's election.
Quiet and Media-Shy
Bergoglio is thought to be quiet and media-shy, but his rare public pronouncements carry enormous weight in his home country. He avoids politics and takes on injustices such as corruption, poverty and inequality with clear statements.
But Bergoglio had hardly been identified as a favorite in recent weeks, having already failed to be selected back in 2005. His health has also been an issue. Since childhood he has struggled with lung problems, and after a fierce bout of the flu in 2005, he made a slow recovery. During the last conclave, critics said he lacked adequate passion to take on the position.
Still, Bergoglio must have been seen as a viable candidate back then, because his opponents brought forward all manner of allegations against him. Just three days after the conclave began, a lawyer pressed charges against the Buenos Aires archbishop for allegedly acting as an accomplice in the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests in 1976. Bergoglio was repeatedly accused of failing to take an appropriate position during Argentina's military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. He denies all such charges to this day.
One of five children, Bergoglio was born on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, the son of Italian immigrants from Turin. He holds citizenship in both Argentina and Italy -- a fact that qualified him as a papal candidate. While his home is Latin America, Bergoglio is also at home in Europe. A man of the world church, his humility and modesty are said to be admired by other cardinals.
Time in Germany
Bergoglio studied chemical engineering before he went to seminary and joined the Jesuit order. He taught philosophy, psychology and literature courses, and became a priest in 1969, going on to lead Argentina's Jesuit province. In 1985, his doctoral studies brought him to a seminary in Frankfurt, which is why he now speaks German. In 1998, Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2005 he became the head of Argentina's bishops' conference. He enjoys cooking, opera, Greek classics, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky and swimming.
He is known as a moderate and open theologian. Conservatives prize his role as a Jesuit, in addition to his church work with the poor and in developing countries. Bergoglio is an intellectual, but also a charismatic ascetic. He is well-read but grounded, well-travelled but deeply rooted to his home.
Far from being a theorist, he ventures out into the favelas to visit the people. He seldom seeks a large audience, but when he does, it's because he has something to say. His main concerns are globalization and the divide between rich and poor. "The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers," he reportedly told a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007.
Conservative on Sexual Issues
Francis is conservative on questions related to sexual morals. He opposes abortion, gay marriage and contraception. In 2010 he got into a dispute with Argentina's President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The then-archbishop said that the adoption of children by gay couples would be child discrimination. The president said Bergoglio's statements were reminiscent of the "medieval times and the Inquisition."
On Catholic holy days, Bergoglio visited hospitals and prisons and washed the feet of patients and inmates. He stood up for those infected with HIV and for the baptism of children born out-of-wedlock, two stances that carried a lot of weight in a staunchly Catholic country like Argentina. In 2012 he criticized priests who refused to perform such baptisms as exhibiting a "hypocritical neo-clericalism." Bergoglio is considered to be close to the conservative and socially engaged movement Communion and Liberation.
"We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church," Bergoglio said recently, according to the National Catholic Reporter. "It's true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that's sick because it's self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former."
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Bergoglio had spent some time working on his dissertation in Freiburg. In reality, it was the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology, which is located in Frankfurt.