About Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Pope Francis (Latin: Franciscus born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) is the 266th and current leader of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State. From 1998 until his election as pope, he served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and was elevated to Cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. Francis speaks Spanish, Italian, German and English fluently.
As 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 he reportedly cooked his own meals.
Bergoglio is the first Jesuit priest chosen to be pope. He is also the first pope from the Americas, the New World, and the Southern Hemisphere. He is the first non-European pope in over 1,200 years. The last non-European pope, St. Gregory III, was born in Syria and reigned from 731 to 741. Francis is also the first pope since Pope John Paul I to take a previously unused papal name.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of Mario José Bergoglio, a railway worker born in Portacomaro (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-Genovese) origin.
Bergoglio was elected pope on 13 March 2013, the second day of the 2013 papal conclave, taking the papal name Francis. Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica said the same day that the new pontiff had chosen the name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, and had done so because the new pontiff was a lover of the poor. His choice of the name "Francis" marked the first time in papal history that this name had been used and the first time since Pope Lando's brief 913 reign that a serving pope held a name unused by a predecessor.
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 selected Pope Benedict XVI. It has been 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 and acted as a regent alongside the College of Cardinals, governing the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church during the interregnum sede vacante period.
On 8 November 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.
Other functions of Cardinal Bergoglio
- Member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
- Member of the Congregation for the Clergy.
- Member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
- Member of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Abortion, euthanasia, and contraception
Cardinal Bergoglio has encouraged his clergy and laity to oppose both abortion and euthanasia, describing the pro-choice movement as a "culture of death". He supports the use of contraception to prevent the spread of disease; though he opposed the free distribution of contraceptives in Argentina.
He has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, including that men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect and compassion. He opposed the gay rights movement as "demonic in origin" and strongly, but ultimately unsuccessfully, opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow same-sex marriage, calling it a "real and dire anthropological throwback." In a letter to the monasteries of Buenos Aires, he wrote: "Let's not be naïve, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God."
He has also insisted that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children. This position received a rebuke from Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who said the church's tone was reminiscent of "medieval times and the Inquisition."
Poverty and economic inequality
In 2009, Bergoglio said that extreme poverty and the "unjust economic structures that give rise to great inequalities" are violations of human rights and that social debt is "immoral, unjust and illegitimate."
During a 48-hour public servant strike in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio observed the differences between, "poor people who are persecuted for demanding work, and rich people who are applauded for fleeing from justice."
Bergoglio has close ties to the Jewish community of Argentina, and attended Jewish Rosh Hashanah services in 2007 at a synagogue in Buenos Aires. The Catholic Zenit news agency reported that Bergoglio told the Jewish congregation during his visit that he went to the synagogue to examine his heart, "like a pilgrim, together with you, my elder brothers."
Additionally, after the 1994 AIMA bombing in that city, which took 85 lives, Bergoglia was the first "public personality" to sign a petition condemning the attack and calling for justice in its aftermath. Leaders of the Jewish community around the world, not just in Argentina, note that his words and actions "showed solidarity with the Jewish community" in the aftermath of this attack.
A former head of the World Jewish Congress, Israel Singer, reported that he worked with Bergoglio in the early 2000s, distributing aid to the poor as part of a joint Jewish-Catholic program called "Tzedaka". Singer notes that he was impressed with Bergoglio's modesty, remembering that "if everyone sat in chairs with handles, he would sit in the one without." Bergoglio's numerous other actions in support of the Jewish community included his co-hosting a Kristallnacht memorial ceremony at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral in 2012.
Child abuse and sex slavery
In 2007, Bergoglio denounced what he characterized as a cultural tolerance of child abuse. He spoke strongly against the abuse of children as "demographic terrorism" and decried their exploitation. "Children are mistreated, and are not educated or fed. Many are made into prostitutes and exploited".
In 2011, Bergoglio condemned child trafficking and sex slavery in Buenos Aires, saying "In this city, there are many girls who stop playing with dolls to enter the dump of a brothel because they were stolen, sold, betrayed." He continued that, "In this city, women and girls are kidnapped, and they are subjected to use and abuse of their body; they are destroyed in their dignity. The flesh that Jesus assumed and died for is worth less than the flesh of a pet. A dog is cared for better than these slaves of ours, who are kicked, who are broken."
In 2011, Bergoglio said that "There is a daily anesthesia that this city knows how to use very well, and it is called bribery, and with this anesthesia the conscience is numbed. Buenos Aires is a bribe-taking city."
- Bergoglio, Jorge (1982) (in Spanish). Meditaciones para religiosos [Meditations for the Religious]. Buenos Aires: Diego de Torres. OCLC 644781822.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (1992) (in Spanish). Reflexiones en esperanza [Reflections of Hope]. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Universidad del Salvador. OCLC 36380521.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2003) (in Spanish). Educar: exigencia y pasión: desafíos para educadores cristianos [To Educate: Exactingness and Passion: Challenges for Christian Educators]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505124572.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2003) (in Spanish). Ponerse la patria al hombro: memoria y camino de esperanza [Putting the Motherland on One's Shoulders: Memoir and Path of Hope]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505125111.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2005) (in Spanish). La nación por construir: utopía, pensamiento y compromiso: VIII Jornada de Pastoral Social [The Nation to Be Built: Utopia, Thought, and Committment]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505125463.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2006) (in Spanish). Corrupción y pecado: algunas reflexiones en torno al tema de la corrupción [Corruption and Sin: Some Thoughts on Corruption]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505125722.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2007) (in Spanish). El verdadero poder es el servicio [True Power Is Service]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. OCLC 688511686.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2009) (in Spanish). Seminario: las deudas sociales de nuestro tiempo: la deuda social según la doctrina de la iglesia [Seminar: the Social Debts of Our Time: Social Debt According to Church Doctrine]. Buenos Aires: EPOCA-USAL. ISBN 9788493741235.
- Bergoglio, Jorge; Skorka, Abraham (2010) (in Spanish). Sobre el cielo y la tierra [On Heaven and Earth]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana. ISBN 9789500732932.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2010) (in Spanish). Seminario Internacional: consenso para el desarrollo: reflexiones sobre solidaridad y desarrollo [International seminar: Consensus about Development: Reflexions on Solidarity and development]. Buenos Aires: EPOCA. ISBN 9789875073524.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2011) (in Spanish). Nosotros como ciudadanos, nosotros como pueblo: hacia un bicentenario en justicia y solidaridad [Ourselves as Citizens, Ourselves as a People: towards a Bicentenary of Justice and Solidarity]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505127443.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (1995) (in Spanish). La vida sagrada y su misión en la Iglesia y en el mundo. Argentina Catholic University: Faculty of Theology. OCLC 806712655.
- Egan, Edward Michael; Bergoglio, Jorge (2001). "Episcopus minister Evangelii Iesu Christi propter spem mundi: relatio post disceptationem". The Catholic Church. The Synod of Bishops. Ordinary General Assembly. E Civitate Vaticana. OCLC 749998123.
- John Paul, Pope; Castro, Fidel (2004). Bergoglio, Jorge. ed (in Spanish). Diálogos entre Juan Pablo II y Fidel Castro [Dialogues Between John Paul II and Fidel Castro]. Buenos Aires: Ciudad Argentina. ISBN 9789875070745.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2007). "Buscar el camino hacia el futuro, llevando consigo la memoria de las raíces" (in Spanish). Humanitas (National Humanities Institute) (47): 468–483. OCLC 176911626.
- Castiñeira de Dios, José María (2007) (in Spanish). El santito Ceferino Namuncurá: relato en verso. Foreword by Jorge Bergoglio. Buenos Aires: Lumen. ISBN 9789870007340.
Pope Francis's Timeline
December 17, 1936
Buenos Aires, Argentina
March 13, 2013
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.