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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/14/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (

First pope to come from the Americas

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, born December 17, 1936 is the newly elected pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Taking the regnal name of Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi Bergoglio served as an Argentine cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Serving as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998, he was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001. He is the first pope to come from the Americas.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

3/14/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, new pope, Argentina, Francis I

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Born in Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was one of the five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife. After studying at the seminary in Villa Devoto, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1958. Bergoglio taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada in Santa Fe, and the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 13, 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. Bergoglio attained the position of novice master there and became professor of theology.

The Society of Jesus, impressed with his leadership skills, promoted Bergoglio where he served as provincial for Argentina from 1973 to 1979.

He then transferred in 1980 to become the rector of the seminary in San Miguel where had had studied, serving in that capacity until 1986. He completed his doctoral dissertation in Germany and returned to his homeland to serve as confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.

Bergoglio succeeded Cardinal Quarracino on February 28, 1998. He was concurrently named ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who lacked their own prelate. Pope John Paul II summoned the newly named archbishop to the consistory of February 21, 2001 in Vatican City and elevated Bergoglio with the papal honors of a cardinal. He was named to the Cardinal-Priest of Saint Robert Bellarmino.

As cardinal, Bergoglio was appointed to several administrative positions in the Roman Curia. He served on the Congregation of Clergy, Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments, Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Congregation of Societies of Apostolic Life. Bergoglio became a member of the Commission on Latin American and the Family Council.

As Cardinal, Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to authenti social justice. A simple lifestyle has contributed to his reputation for humility. Living in a small apartment, he eschews the typical palatial bishop's residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation, and reportedly cooks his own meals.

Upon the death of Pope John Paul II, Bergoglio, considered papabile himself, participated in the 2005 papal conclave as a cardinal elector, the conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

In November 8, 2005, Bergoglio was elected President of the Argentine Episcopal Conference for a three-year term (2005-2008) by a large majority of the Argentine bishops, which according to reports confirms his local leadership and the international prestige earned by his alleged performance in the conclave. He was reelected on November 11, 2008.

Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career. He is thought to be close to Comunione e Liberazione, a conservative lay movement.

Cardinal Bergoglio has invited his clergy and laity to oppose both abortion and euthanasia.

Among his teachings and stands, he strongly affirms church teaching on the intrinsic immorality of homosexual practices, though he teaches the importance of respecting homosexual persons. He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to give legal equivalency between true marriage and homosexual partners. He has also insisted that adoption by homosexuals is a form of discrimination against children.

His doctrinal orthodoxy emphasizes Christ's mandate to love: he is well remembered for his 2001 visit to a hospice, in which he washed and kissed the feet of twelve AIDS patients.

His tenure has been marked with controversy. On April 15, 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, accusing him of conspiring with the junta in 1976 to kidnap two Jesuit priests, whom he, as superior of the Society of Jesus of Argentina in 1976, had asked to leave their pastoral work following conflict within the Society over how to respond to the new military dictatorship, with some priests advocating a violent overthrow. Bergoglio's spokesman has flatly denied the allegations. No evidence was presented linking the cardinal to this crime.


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