POPE FRANCIS

OUR POPE

Pope Francis ; Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Born on 17 December 1936 is the head of the Catholic Church and  sovereign of the Vatican City state. Francis is the first Jsuit 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 Beunos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio 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.  Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March. He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assissi.

Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God’s mercy, international visibility as pope, 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 previous popes. 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 and over 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 temporarily restore full diplomatic relations between United States and Cuba and supported the cause of refugees during the European and Central American migrant crises. Since 2018, he has been a vocal opponent of neo-nationalism.