Pope Francis

Pope Francis – Quick Facts

Famous as: Pope
Birth name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Also known as: Jorge Bergoglio
Date of birth:  December 17, 1936
Papacy began: 13 March 2013
Nationality: Argentine and have Vatican citizenship
Education: University of Buenos Aires
Father: Mario Jose Bergoglio
Mother: Regina Maria Sivori

A revolutionary Vicar of Christ!

‘My people are poor and I am one of them’. Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from a humble background in Argentina. From there, he has made his way to the head of the Roman Catholic Church as Pope Francis.

Pope Francis is the 266th and the present Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He is known across the world for his great approachability and humility. At the age of 76, on March 13, 2013, He was ordained as the Pope. He is the first citizen from the Americas, the first non-European and the first Jesuit priest to be named Pope!

Ever since attaining priesthood, Pope Francis has incessantly and tirelessly worked for the welfare of the poor. He claims it to be his prime concern. In addition, the Pope is committed to connect people of various backgrounds, beliefs, class, and faith through his peaceful talks. Pope Francis strongly considers and supports social outreach instead of doctrinal battles to be the crucial work of the church. He expresses radical thoughts on humility, practice of simplicity and austerity toward working out a strong defense of the poor. This has earned him positive accolades and acclaim. However, his staunch orthodox perceptive against same-sex marriage, abortion, and contraception has drawn criticism from several sects of the society.

Early life and career of Pope Francis

Pope Francis was known by his birth name Jorge Mario Bergoglio before he became pope or even Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 17, 1936. According to his Vatican biography, he was born to an Italian immigrant family. He was the eldest of the family and had four siblings. As a young man, the future pontiff was interested in chemistry, philosophy and theology and studied these subjects. Later, he lectured in those subjects. In 1998, he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He also served as the Cardinal of the city. He chose his name after the popular Saint Francis of Assisi.

Pope Francis literally shocked the whole world in December 2013 when he admitted that before joining priesthood, he was a bouncer at a nightclub in Buenos Aires! It seems he also spent time sweeping floors and conducted tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager according to the Catholic News Service.

Pope Francis leads a modest lifestyle

It is true that a major part of his public appeal lays in his ‘sober and austere’ modest lifestyle. When he was in Buenos Aires, he resided in a simple apartment. When Pope Francis was the Cardinal of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio’s sermons, repeatedly, had an impact in Argentina as he often stressed on social inclusion. Doing so, he indirectly criticized governments that seldom paid attention to those people on the margins of the society.

Pope Francis was different from his predecessors. He has preferred a casual, informal approach to office ever since the Papal elections. He refused most luxuries offered to a Pope and rather chose to live a simple and humble lifestyle. His decision to stay at the Vatican guesthouse instead of the papal residence, wearing the white Cossack rather than the red mozzetta and the iron pectoral cross in place of the gold one are proof to his simplicity and modesty. What’s more, the pontiff is known for riding through Buenos Aires on a bus, flying economy class, and scooting through the narrow lane-ways of Rome in a simple Ford Focus. In fact, he even shared space with the other cardinals in a minivan after he was elected as the Pope. He did not choose to take the luxurious sedan organized for him.

New style of Pope Francis

Ever since he became the Pope, he has continued to display his concern about economic inequality as his key message. His first major work written since he became Pope Francis is Evangeli Gaudium. In that work, he quotes “the worship of the ancient golden calf… has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy”. The work also suggests that he is planning major reforms to the Vatican bureaucracy which has gained importance in his papacy. In fact, he has built a team of eight cardinals. Surprisingly, they are from outside the administration of Holy See and this team will design ways to reshape the Vatican bureaucracy.

Pope Francis has also chosen to adopt a strikingly less formal tone compared to his predecessor. This emphasizes his stance on humility and simplicity. He has marked that the basis of Catholic doctrine on sexuality is definitely not up for negotiation. However, he has made his point that the Church has been much focused on imposing the rules on human behavior. Moreover, in an exceptional move, he has ordered a unique survey to be conducted of the opinions of lay Catholics on the teachings of the Church with regards to sexual ethics and family life.

Pope Francis Teachings

Pope Francis is a true advocator of self-effacement and simplicity. He has been well known for his commitment to work for the poor and needy. He also attempts to bridge the gaps between people of diverse faiths, beliefs and backgrounds. Ever since he became the Pope, he has garnered accolades and appreciation for his strong stand against economic differences and poverty. He has always blamed unjust economic structures and poverty prevalent in the society as the major cause for violation of human rights and inequality. Consequently, he has advocated the world to eliminate unjust, immoral and illegitimate social debt.

Besides, Pope Francis has voiced a strong opinion against homelessness, bribery, and exploitation of the workers. He also said that while bribery numbed the conscience of a man, homelessness and exploitation showcase that the world is not literally free from slavery. He is a staunch orthodox and traditionalist. He has been a strong antagonist on issues like sexual morality, unwaveringly voicing against abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception. Moreover, he argued that homosexuals must be treated with respect and consideration. However, he opines that the practice of homosexuality must not be encouraged.

Popular messages from Pope Francis

“I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it.”

“HELP ONE ANOTHER. This is what Jesus teaches us. This is what I do. And I do it with my heart.”

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