printer friendly versionPrint
Argentina’s Cardinal Bergoglio Elected Pope; Chooses ’Francis‘

image
Pope Francis appears for the first time on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 13 March. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the 266th Roman Catholic pontiff. He is the first Jesuit and first Latin American pope. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring) 

Since 1998, he has been archbishop of Buenos Aires, where his style is low-key and close to the people.

He rides the bus, visits the poor, lives in a simple apartment and cooks his own meals. To many in Buenos Aires, he is known simply as “Father Jorge.”

He also has created new parishes, restructured the administrative offices and started new pastoral programs, such as a commission for divorcees. He co-presided over the 2001 Synod of Bishops and was elected to the synod council, so he is well known to the world’s bishops.

He has often spoken publicly about the economic, social and political problems facing his country. His homilies and speeches are filled with references to the fact that all people are brothers and sisters and that the church and the country need to do what they can to make sure that everyone feels welcome, respected and cared for.

While not overtly political, Pope Francis has not tried to hide the political and social impact of the Gospel message, particularly in a country still recovering from a serious economic crisis.

After becoming archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, he mediated in almost all social or political conflicts in the city. Recently ordained priests have been described as “the Bergoglio generation,” and no political or social figure misses requesting a private encounter with him.

Jorge Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital city, on 17 December 1936.

He studied and received a master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, but later decided to become a Jesuit priest and studied at the Jesuit seminary of Villa Devoto. The last pope to have belonged to a religious order was Pope Gregory XVI, a Benedictine elected in 1831.

He studied liberal arts in Santiago, Chile, and in 1960 earned a degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of Buenos Aires. Between 1964 and 1965 he was a teacher of literature and psychology at Inmaculada high school in the province of Santa Fe, and in 1966 he taught the same courses at the prestigious Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires.

In 1967, he returned to his theological studies and was ordained a priest on 13 December 1969. After his perpetual profession as a Jesuit in 1973, he became master of novices at the Seminary of Villa Barilari in San Miguel. Later that same year, he was elected superior of the Jesuit province of Argentina.

In 1980, he returned to San Miguel as a teacher at the Jesuit school — a job rarely taken by a former provincial superior. In May 1992, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires. He was one of three auxiliaries and he kept a low profile, spending most of his time caring for the Catholic university, counseling priests and preaching and hearing confessions.

On 3 June 1997, he was named coadjutor archbishop. He was installed as the new archbishop of Buenos Aires on 28 February 1998.

Some controversy had arisen over the position taken by Pope Francis during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship, which cracked down brutally on political opponents. Estimates of the number of people killed and forcibly disappeared during those years range from about 13,000 to more than 30,000.





1 | 2 | 3 |


Tags: Pope Francis Vatican Catholic Pope Papacy