Pope Francis: biography and latest news!

    Pope Francis © Backgrid USA / Bestimage
    Pope Francis © Backgrid USA / Bestimage

  • Occupation: Pope
  • Real name : Jorge Mario Bergoglio
  • Sign : Sagittarius
  • Date of birth : Thursday 17 December 1936 (age: 84)
  • Country: Argentina

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, born on December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the 266th Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic Church, under the name Francis.

His parents were immigrants from Italy of modest means. Jorge Mario went to public school and graduated as a chemical technician before entering the seminary at Villa Devoto. He entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at the age of 22, completed his humanities in Chile and returned to his hometown to study philosophy at the University of San Miguel. He taught literature and psychology for several years before returning to theology studies from 1967 to 1970.

Ordained a priest in December 1969, he took his final vows on April 22, 1973. He became master of novices at Villa Barilari in San Miguel, professor at the Faculty of Theology and advisor to the Jesuit Province. At the age of 36, he was elected provincial of Argentina and between 1980 and 1986, he was rector of the University of San Miguel and of the Faculties of Philosophy and Theology, as well as pastor of the parish of San José. He continued his studies in Germany, obtaining a doctorate in Freiburg. Jorge Mario is fluent in Spanish, Italian, French, English, German, Latin and has some knowledge of Portuguese.

Back in Argentina, Jorge Mario became a simple parish priest in the city of Cordoba. In 1992, John Paul II appointed him titular bishop of Auca and auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires. In 1997, he was named Coadjutor Archbishop of the same archdiocese, and finally became Archbishop of the Argentine capital after the death of Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on February 28, 1998.

In 2001, he was appointed Cardinal by John Paul II. However, he refused to be elected as head of the Argentinean episcopate. His popularity continues to grow, as he remains close to his followers during the political and economic crisis that Argentina and its elites are going through.

Thus, Jorge’s ecclesiastical career has always been deeply linked to the experience of the social reality of his country. During the military dictatorship, from 1976 to 1983, he fought to preserve the unity and non-politicization of the Society of Jesus. He is a simple and compassionate man, known for his humility. Before becoming pope, he was admired for his refusal to occupy the sumptuous residences of an archbishop, his choice to live in a small apartment near the cathedral, to take public transportation and to spend weekends in disadvantaged parishes to stay close to the poor. In order to stay close to the priests, he created a direct telephone line with them.

On March 13, 2013, Jorge Mario succeeded Benedict XVI, who had relinquished his Petrine duties a few weeks earlier. Jorge Mario is the first to take the name of Francis, in memory of the commitment of St. Francis of Assisi, a strong sign of a desire for evangelical simplicity and a commitment to poverty. This choice also shows his respect for all of Creation and the protection of the environment.

The first inaugural mass took place on March 19, 2013, before 150,000 to 200,000 faithful in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. In his homily, the pope invites us to “have respect for everyone, for each person, especially children, the elderly, those who are the most fragile and who often find themselves on the periphery of our hearts.”

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