Here is some biographical information regarding the new Holy Father, Pope Francis, including his stances on various issues. I’m sure this is only the first in a deluge of information that will come out regarding our new Holy Father.
“Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite, was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires. He studied as and holds a degree as a chemical technician, but then chose the priesthood and entered the seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958 he moved to the novitiate of the Company of Jesus where he finished studies in the humanities in Chile. In 1963, on returning to Buenos Aires, he obtained a degree in philosophy at the St. Joseph major seminary of San Miguel.
Between 1964 and 1965 he taught literature and psychology at the Immacolata College in Santa Fe and then in 1966 he taught the same subjects at the University of El Salvador, in Buenos Aires.
From 1967 to 1970 he studied theology at the St. Joseph major seminary of San Miguel where he obtained a degree. On 13 December 1969 he was ordained a priest. From 1970 to 1971 he completed the third probation at Alcala de Henares, Spain, and on 22 April 1973, pronounced his perpetual vows.
He was novice master at Villa Varilari in San Miguel from 1972 to 1973, where he also taught theology. On 31 July 1973 he was elected as Provincial for Argentina, a role he served as for six years.
From 1980 to 1986 he was rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel as well as pastor of the Patriarca San Jose parish in the Diocese of San Miguel. In March of 1986 he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis. The superiors then sent him to the University of El Salvador and then to Cordoba where he served as a confessor and spiritual director.
On 20 May 1992, John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, He received episcopal consecration in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires from Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Apostolic Nunzio Ubaldo Calabresi, and Bishop Emilio Ognenovich. of Mercedes-Lujan on 27 June of that year.
On 3 June 1997 he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998.
He was Adjunct Relator General of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2001.
He served as President of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina from 8 November 2005 until 8 November 2011.
He was created and proclaimed Cardinal by Blessed John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, of the Title of S. Roberto Bellarmino (St. Robert Bellarmine).
He was a member of:
The Congregations for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Clergy; and for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life;
the Pontifical Council for the Family; and
the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.”
H/T Catholic Lane
“Francis (Ecc. Latin: Franciscus [franˈtʃiskus]; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio; 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church, elected on 13 March 2013. As such, he is both head of the Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State.
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was ordained as a priest in 1969. In 1998 he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2001 a cardinal. Following the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on 28 February 2013, the conclave elected Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Francis in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is both the first Jesuit pope and the first pope from the Americas. He is also the first pope from outside Europe since Pope Gregory III in the 8th century.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of Mario José Bergoglio, a railway worker born in Portacomaro (Asti) in Italy’s Piedmont region, and his wife Regina María Sivori, a housewife born in Buenos Aires to a family of northern Italian (Piedmontese-Genovese) origin. He graduated from a technical secondary school as a chemical technician and then, at the age of 21, decided to become a priest.
Bergoglio entered the Society of Jesus on 11 March 1958 and studied to become a priest at the Jesuit seminary in Villa Devoto. In 1960, Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo San José in San Miguel; in 1964 and 1965, he taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada, a high school in the Province of Santa Fe, Argentina, and in 1966 he taught the same courses at the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires.
In 1967, Bergoglio finished his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood on 13 December 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. He attended the Facultades de Filosofía y Teología de San Miguel (Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel), a seminary in San Miguel, Buenos Aires province. Bergoglio attained the position of novice master there and became professor of theology.
The Society of Jesus promoted Bergoglio and he served as provincial for Argentina from 1973 to 1979. He was transferred in 1980 to become the rector of the seminary in San Miguel, and served in that capacity until 1986. He spent several months at Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt, Germany, while considering possible dissertation topics and returned to Argentina to serve as confessor and spiritual director to the Jesuit community in Córdoba.
Bergoglio was named Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and was ordained on 27 June 1992 as Titular Bishop of Auca with Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, serving as principal consecrator.
Bergoglio succeeded Cardinal Quarracino as Archbishop of Buenos Aires on 28 February 1998 and was concurrently named ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who had lacked their own prelate.
At the consistory of 21 February 2001, Archbishop Bergoglio was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II with the title of cardinal-priest of San Roberto Bellarmino. As cardinal, Bergoglio was appointed to five administrative positions in the Roman Curia:
- Member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
- Member of the Congregation for the Clergy
- Member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
- Member of the Pontifical Council for the Family
- Member of the Commission for Latin America
Cardinal Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice. A simple lifestyle contributed to his reputation for humility. He lived in a small apartment, rather than in the palatial bishop’s residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation and cooked his own meals.
On the death of Pope John Paul II, Bergoglio was considered one of the papabile cardinals. He participated as a cardinal elector in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI. Catholic journalist John L. Allen, Jr. reported that Bergoglio was a frontrunner in the 2005 Conclave. An unauthorized diary of uncertain authenticity released in September 2005 confirmed that Bergoglio was the runner-up and main challenger of Cardinal Ratzinger at that conclave. The purported diary of the anonymous cardinal claimed Bergoglio received 40 votes in the third ballot, but fell back to 26 at the fourth and decisive ballot. La Stampa reported that Bergoglio was in close contention with Ratzinger during the election, until he made an emotional plea that the cardinals should not vote for him. Earlier, he had participated in the funeral of Pope John Paul II and acted as a regent alongside the College of Cardinals, governing the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church during the interregnum sede vacante period.
During the 2005 Synod of Bishops, he was elected a member of the post-synodal council. On 8 November 2005, Bergoglio was elected president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference for a three-year term (2005–08) by a large majority of the Argentine bishops. He was reelected on 11 November 2008.
Cardinal Bergoglio was personally unsympathetic to the traditional liturgy. In 2007, just two days after Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum, Cardinal Bergoglio was one of the first bishops in the world to respond by instituting a Tridentine mass in Buenos Aires. The traditional Mass was allowed to be celebrated only once a month, and the chaplain appointed, the archdiocesan liturgist Fr. Ricardo Dotro, alienated most of the congregation by mixing in elements from the Pauline rite and the congregation soon dwindled from more than 100 to a handful. In November 2007 Bergoglio ordered one of his priests to stop celebrating the traditional Latin Mass.
As a cardinal, Bergoglio was associated with Communion and Liberation, a conservative Catholic association of the faithful.
In Argentina, opinion is divided; some support Bergoglio and admire his austere lifestyle, while others disapprove of his opposition to issues like same-sex marriage and are uneasy about his supposed ties to the country’s oppressive military dictatorship in the 1970s.
Relations with the Argentine government
Bergoglio has been the subject of allegations regarding whether he had failed to prevent the torture of two priests during Argentina’s Dirty War in 1976, including a court case in 2005 that was ultimately dismissed. The episode continues to be a matter of debate, with different accounts of the events being put forth. In 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, as superior in the Society of Jesus of Argentina, accusing him of involvement in the kidnapping by the Navy in May 1976 (during the Dirty War) of two Jesuit priests.The priests, Orlando Yorio and Franz Jalics, were tortured, but found alive five months later, drugged and semi-naked. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Jalics refused to discuss the complaint after moving into seclusion in a German monastery. The complaint did not specify the nature of Bergoglio’s alleged involvement, and Bergoglio’s spokesman flatly denied the allegations. Under Argentine law such accusations can be made on little evidence, to be investigated by a court, and the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed.
Horacio Verbitsky, an Argentine investigative journalist and former montonero guerilla, wrote a book about this and other related events titled El Silencio: de Paulo VI a Bergoglio: las relaciones secretas de la Iglesia con la ESMA. According to the book, after their release Yorio accused Bergoglio, then-Provincial of his San Miguel Jesuit order, of having denounced him. “Bergoglio withdrew his order’s protection of the two men after they refused to quit visiting the slums, which ultimately paved the way for their capture.” Jesuit Father General Pedro Arrupe in Rome was informed by letter during the abduction. Both Jalics and Orlando Yorio were excluded from the Jesuit Order.
Bergoglio told his authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, that after the priests’ imprisonment he worked behind the scenes for their release; Bergoglio’s intercession with dictator Jorge Rafael Videla on their behalf may have saved their lives. “The [now] cardinal could not justify why these two priests were in a state of helplessness and exposed,” according to Luis Zamora, who said that Bergoglio’s testimony “demonstrates the role of the Church during the last military dictatorship”. In 2010, Bergoglio told Sergio Rubin that he had often sheltered people from the dictatorship on church property, and once gave his own identity papers to a man who looked like him, so he could flee Argentina.
After becoming bishop
As detailed below, on presenting the Aparecida Document Bergoglio, in addition to commenting on social problems, exhorted “legislators, heads of government, and health professionals” to act according to Catholic principles regarding abortion and other issues and said that “people cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time … [commit] serious crimes against life and family. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals”. He referred to a topical Argentine abortion case. Argentina’s government opposed this: Human Rights Undersecretary of Buenos Aires, Guillermo Guerin said that “the diagnosis of the Church in relation to social problems in Argentina is correct, but to mix that with abortion and euthanasia, is at least a clear example of ideological malfeasance”.
Relations with other religious groups
Bergoglio has close ties to the Jewish community of Argentina, and attended Jewish Rosh Hashanah services in 2007 at a synagogue in Buenos Aires. The Catholic Zenit news agency reported that Bergoglio told the Jewish congregation during his visit that he went to the synagogue to examine his heart, “like a pilgrim, together with you, my elder brothers.”
After the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building in that city, which killed 85 people, Bergoglio was the first “public personality” to sign a petition condemning the attack and calling for justice. Leaders of the Jewish community around the world, not just in Argentina, noted that his words and actions “showed solidarity with the Jewish community” in the aftermath of this attack.
A former head of the World Jewish Congress, Israel Singer, reported that he worked with Bergoglio in the early 2000s, distributing aid to the poor as part of a joint Jewish-Catholic program called “Tzedaka”. Singer notes that he was impressed with Bergoglio’s modesty, remembering that “if everyone sat in chairs with handles [arms], he would sit in the one without.” Bergoglio’s numerous other actions in support of the Jewish community included his co-hosting a Kristallnacht memorial ceremony at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral in 2012.
Leaders of the Islamic community in Buenos Aires welcomed the news of Bergoglio’s election as pope, noting that he was always a “friend of the Islamic community,” and a person whose position is “pro-dialogue.”
Bergoglio visited both a mosque and a school in Argentina, visits that Sheik Mohsen Ali, the Director for the Diffusion of Islam, called actions that strengthened the relationship between the Catholic and Islamic communities. Dr. Sumer Noufouri, Secretary General of the Islamic Center of the Republic of Argentina (CIRA), added that Bergoglio’s past actions make his election as Pope a cause within the Islamic community of “joy and expectation of strengthening dialogue between religions.”
Bergoglio was elected pope on 13 March 2013, the second day of the 2013 papal conclave, taking the papal name Francis. Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica said the same day that the new pontiff had chosen the name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, and had done so because the new pontiff was a lover of the poor. Some had initially thought that, as a Jesuit, he chose Francis in recognition of the co-founder of the Society of Jesus.
This is the the first time that a pope has been named “Francis” and the first time since Pope Lando’s brief 913 reign that a serving pope held a name unused by a predecessor.
Bergoglio is the first Jesuit chosen to be pope. He is also the first pope from the New World, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere. Francis is the first pope born outside Europe in 1,272 years, since Syrian-born St. Gregory III, who reigned from 731 to 741.
Francis is fluent in Spanish, Latin, Italian, German, French, and English.
Pope Francis, elected at the age of 76, is reported to be in good health due to his austere and healthy lifestyle. In 1969, shortly after becoming a priest, Bergoglio had life-threatening pneumonia, and three cysts. According to an interview he had with his biographers, he was between life and death for three days, and had the upper part of his right lung removed.
Doctors say that his missing lung tissue does not have a significant impact on his health. The only concern would be decreased respiratory reserve if he had a respiratory infection.
Positions on social and political issues
Poverty and economic inequality
At a meeting of Latin American bishops in 2007 Bergoglio said “[w]e live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least” and that “[t]he unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers”. On 30 September 2009, Bergoglio spoke at a conference organized by the Argentina City Postgraduate School (EPOCA) at the Alvear Palace Hotel titled “Las deudas sociales de nuestro tiempo” (“The Social Debts of Our Time”) in which he quoted the 1992 “Documento de Santo Domingo” by the Latin American Episcopal Conference, saying “extreme poverty and unjust economic structures that cause great inequalities” are violations of human rights. He went on to describe social debt as “immoral, unjust and illegitimate.”
During a 48-hour public servant strike in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio observed the differences between “poor people who are persecuted for demanding work, and rich people who are applauded for fleeing from justice”. During a May 2010 speech in Argentina regarding the poor, he directed his message to the wealthy by saying: “You avoid taking into account the poor. We have no right to duck down, to lower the arms carried by those in despair. We must reclaim the memory of our country who has a mother, recover the memory of our Mother”.
In 2011, Bergoglio decried sweatshops and homelessness in Buenos Aires as forms of slavery, saying “In this city, slavery is the order of the day in various forms, in this city workers are exploited in sweatshops and, if immigrants, are deprived of the opportunity to get out. In this city, there are kids on the streets for years.” He added, “The city failed and continues to fail in the attempt deliver them from this bondage that is structural homelessness.”
Child abuse and sex slavery
In 2007, Bergoglio denounced what he characterized as a cultural tolerance of child abuse. He spoke strongly against the abuse of children as “demographic terrorism” and decried their exploitation. “Children are mistreated, and are not educated or fed. Many are made into prostitutes and exploited”. In 2011, Bergoglio condemned child trafficking and sex slavery in Buenos Aires, saying “In this city, there are many girls who stop playing with dolls to enter the dump of a brothel because they were stolen, sold, betrayed.” He continued that, “In this city, women and girls are kidnapped, and they are subjected to use and abuse of their body; they are destroyed in their dignity. The flesh that Jesus assumed and died for is worth less than the flesh of a pet. A dog is cared for better than these slaves of ours, who are kicked, who are broken.”
In 2011, Bergoglio stated: “There is a daily anesthesia that this city knows how to use very well, and it is called bribery, and with this anesthesia the conscience is numbed. Buenos Aires is a bribe-taking city.”
Doctrinal compliance on abortion, euthanasia, and contraception
In 2007, as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio presented the final version of a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America – the “Aparecida Document” – upon its approval by Pope Benedict XVI. Among several hundred conclusions, the document links worthiness to receive the Eucharist to compliance and acceptance of Church teaching against “abominable crimes” such as abortion and euthanasia:
“We hope that legislators, heads of government, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and of the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia; that is their responsibility … We should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.”
Bergoglio has also encouraged his clergy and laity to oppose both abortion and euthanasia, describing the pro-choice movement as a “culture of death”, and had opposed the free distribution of contraceptives in Argentina.
Bergoglio has affirmed church teaching on homosexual practices; that they are intrinsically immoral. However he has stressed the importance of respecting homosexual persons.
He opposes same-sex marriage, and unsuccessfully opposed legislation introduced in 2010 to legalize same-sex marriage in Argentina, calling it a “real and dire anthropological throwback”. In July 2010, while the law was under consideration, he wrote a letter to Argentina’s cloistered nuns in which he said:
In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.
Let’s not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God’s plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that’s just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God… Let’s look to St. Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they defend the Argentine family in this moment… May they support, defend, and accompany us in this war of God.
After L’Osservatore Romano reported this, several priests expressed their support for the law and one was defrocked. Observers believe that the church’s opposition and Bergoglio’s language, which has been criticized by politicians worked in favor of the law’s passage and that Roman Catholic officials learned from their failed campaign against the same-sex marriage law to adopt a different tone in later debates on social issues such as parental surrogacy.d
- Bergoglio, Jorge (1982) (in Spanish). Meditaciones para religiosos [Meditations for the Religious]. Buenos Aires: Diego de Torres. OCLC 644781822.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (1992) (in Spanish). Reflexiones en esperanza [Reflections of Hope]. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Universidad del Salvador. OCLC 36380521.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2003) (in Spanish). Educar: exigencia y pasión: desafíos para educadores cristianos [To Educate: Exactingness and Passion: Challenges for Christian Educators]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505124572.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2003) (in Spanish). Ponerse la patria al hombro: memoria y camino de esperanza [Putting the Motherland on One's Shoulders: Memoir and Path of Hope]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505125111.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2005) (in Spanish). La nación por construir: utopía, pensamiento y compromiso: VIII Jornada de Pastoral Social [The Nation to Be Built: Utopia, Thought, and Committment]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505125463.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2006) (in Spanish). Corrupción y pecado: algunas reflexiones en torno al tema de la corrupción [Corruption and Sin: Some Thoughts on Corruption]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505125722.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2007) (in Spanish). El verdadero poder es el servicio [True Power Is Service]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. OCLC 688511686.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2009) (in Spanish). Seminario: las deudas sociales de nuestro tiempo: la deuda social según la doctrina de la iglesia [Seminar: the Social Debts of Our Time: Social Debt According to Church Doctrine]. Buenos Aires: EPOCA-USAL. ISBN 9788493741235.
- Bergoglio, Jorge; Skorka, Abraham (2010) (in Spanish). Sobre el cielo y la tierra [On Heaven and Earth]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana. ISBN 9789500732932.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2010) (in Spanish). Seminario Internacional: consenso para el desarrollo: reflexiones sobre solidaridad y desarrollo [International seminar: Consensus about Development: Reflexions on Solidarity and development]. Buenos Aires: EPOCA. ISBN 9789875073524.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2011) (in Spanish). Nosotros como ciudadanos, nosotros como pueblo: hacia un bicentenario en justicia y solidaridad [Ourselves as Citizens, Ourselves as a People: towards a Bicentenary in Justice and Solidarity]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505127443.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (1995) (in Spanish). La vida sagrada y su misión en la Iglesia y en el mundo. Argentina Catholic University: Faculty of Theology. OCLC 806712655.
- Egan, Edward Michael; Bergoglio, Jorge (2001). “Episcopus minister Evangelii Iesu Christi propter spem mundi: relatio post disceptationem”. The Catholic Church. The Synod of Bishops. Ordinary General Assembly. E Civitate Vaticana. OCLC 749998123.
- John Paul, Pope; Castro, Fidel (2004). Bergoglio, Jorge. ed (in Spanish). Diálogos entre Juan Pablo II y Fidel Castro [Dialogues Between John Paul II and Fidel Castro]. Buenos Aires: Ciudad Argentina. ISBN 9789875070745.
- Bergoglio, Jorge (2007). “Buscar el camino hacia el futuro, llevando consigo la memoria de las raíces” (in Spanish). Humanitas (National Humanities Institute) (47): 468–483. OCLC 176911626.
- Castiñeira de Dios, José María (2007) (in Spanish). El santito Ceferino Namuncurá: relato en verso. Foreword by Jorge Bergoglio. Buenos Aires: Lumen. ISBN 9789870007340.
- English translation of IEC Catechesis “The Eucharist: Gift from God for the life of the world” (2009) (given in Spanish), 49th International Eucharistic Congress, Quebec, Canada”