March 13, 2013 (ActonInstitute) – Early today, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina was elected as the 267th pope of the Catholic Church. Here are nine things you should know about Pope Francis.
1. Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires in 1936. His father was an Italian immigrant
2. He’s the first pope from South America. The only remaining continents that have never had a pope come from their lands are Australia, Antarctica, and North America.
3. He’s the first Jesuit pope.
4. He only has one lung. His other lung was removed due to infection when he was a teenager
5. Bergoglio is known for his personal simplicity. In Argentina he lived in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace, cooked his own meals, and gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work.
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6. In 2010, when Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, Bergoglio encouraged clergy across the country to tell Catholics to protest against the legislation because, if enacted, it could “seriously injure the family” and that gay adoption would be “depriving (children) of the human growth that God wanted them given by a father and a mother.”
7. 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 liberal arts at the Catholic seminary in Santiago, Chile.
8. At the age of 76, Francis is the ninth oldest pope of those elected after 1295. (Benedict, who was elected at the age of 78, was fifth oldest.)
9. Last year, Bergoglio compared Catholic priests who refused to baptize the children of unwed mothers to the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. “These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church,” he said, adding, “Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit.”
LifeSiteNews editor's note: To this list we would add a 10th “must know” fact. That Cardinal Bergoglio has strongly condemned abortion, even in cases of rape. In a 2007 speech given to a gathering of priests and laity on October 2nd, then-Cardinal Bergoglio issued a defense of life even in cases of rape saying: “we aren’t in agreement with the death penalty,” but “in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.”
Reprinted with permission from The Acton Institute.