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Born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio on December 17, 1936, he chose to adopt Francis as his papal name. He is the sovereign of Vatican City and the 226th and the current pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis has a lot of firsts under his belt. He is the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the southern Hemisphere and the first one from outside of Europe ever since the 8th century. Pope Francis also holds the honor of being the first pope from the Americas.
Early Life And Career
He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His career began as a chemical technologist and then later he went on to be a bouncer. All this was before he found his calling and joined at the seminary. He was ordained in 1969, and for six years from 1973 served as the provincial superior for the Society of Jesus in Argentina. He was elected as the pope on 13th March 2013, at the age of 76.
The teachings of Pope Francis are always made of concepts of mercy, faith, evangelization, environment and poverty. He has strong opinions on abortion, the ordination of women, contraception, religious persecution, capital punishment and life imprisonment. He believes that the most powerful message of the lord is mercy and has launched active initiatives for the care of the environment and substantial development.
He has also raised voice for providing a better income distribution. He has been a strong oppose to the practice and legalization of abortion. His motto is to protect human life from the moment of conception all the way to natural death. He made a surprise appearance and went along to participate in the pro-life march in Italy.
The current pope also believes that war and murder cannot be conducted in the name of faith and God. He also opposes capital punishment and life imprisonment, urging the nation to find alternative ways to control aggression and violence.
A Personal Peek At The Pope
Pope Francis is multilingual, speaking Spanish, Latin and Italian fluently. He can also clearly understand German, French, Portuguese, English and Ukrainian. He lives up to his papal name that symbolizes humility and austerity. He still appears to be in good health despite having just one lung. A lot less known fact is that he is a fan of Tango, soccer and is known for his exceptional sense of humor. During the period of 1960’s, he used to teach in high schools throughout Argentina.
(By Biopage writers. Photo credit Casa Rosada and Sébastien Bertrand. Please contact Biopage for any inaccuracy)
Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio? Francis told us in his first interview after being elected Pope: “I am a sinner,” he said. “This the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech.” Before hearing confessions in St. Peter’s Basilica, he kneels in confession himself—because one cannot accompany a suffering world without acknowledging one’s own faults. The same goes for the church Francis leads. Before being elected Pope, Francis gave a speech to his fellow Cardinals warning against becoming a “self-referential” church, rather than one that goes out of itself to the margins of society to be with those who suffer. That is where God is working in the world and where he calls us to be. This has rung especially true this year, as Francis has spoken out on the need to welcome refugees amid a global crisis. As Pope Paul VI once said: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers.” Francis loves that phrase, and it is precisely because of his powerful witness, in both word and deed, that we listen so willingly to him. (By Cardinal Blasé J. Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago. Photo credit Tânia Rêgo-ABr)