News / Europe

Argentinian Cardinal Bergoglio Becomes Pope Francis

Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican,  March 13, 2013.
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, March 13, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Zlatica Hoke
Pope Francis

-Full name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio
-Born December 17, 1936 (age 76) in Buenos Aires, Argentina
-Made cardinal by Pope John Paul II in February 2001
-First pope from Latin America
-First Jesuit pope
The Roman Catholic church got its first Latin American pontiff Wednesday when a secret papal conclave elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as its new leader.  Pope Francis is also the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

Joyful cheers him when Pope Francis appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, dressed in a simple white robe.

Among the thousands greeting the pontiff were pilgrims from Argentina who could not contain their excitement.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who became the 266th Roman Catholic pontiff Wednesday, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1936.

He was a son of Italian immigrants and his father was a railroad worker.

The new leader of 1.2 billion Catholics chose to be known as Pope Francis. He is the first Latin American leader of the Church.

Latin America is home to the world's largest concentration of Catholics, with Brazil and Mexico having the largest Catholic populations.

Pope Francis studied liberal arts in Santiago, Chile, and in 1960 earned a degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of Buenos Aires.

He was ordained a priest in 1969, and is part of the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits. Before becoming a cardinal in 2001, he served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998.

As a priest and a cardinal he became known for his simple lifestyle, personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice.
"I cannot explain it, this is tremendous," said one. "This is the first time I am in Rome and to have an Argentinian pope - it's tremendous"

"We are very happy as Argentinians, I think he is a very well prepared person and we need to pray for the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ to give him the strength to lead the Catholic church," said another.

The 76-year-old pontiff also noted that his fellow cardinals looked around the globe to find a successor for Pope Emeritus Benedict.  

"Brothers and sisters, good evening." said Pope Francis. "As you know the duty of the conclave is to give Rome a bishop. It seems that my brothers cardinals went almost to the end of the world.  But we are here."

The new pope, who was born in Buenos Aires to a family of Italian immigrants, spent most of his life in Argentina.  After receiving a master's degree in chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires he decided to become a Jesuit.  He was ordained a priest in 1969.

After years of teaching at Catholic school and seminaries and spending time counseling priests he became the new archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was made cardinal in 2001.

During the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict, Cardinal Bergoglio was said the have received the second largest number of votes.

He has been known for his humble personal life and for his doctrinal conservatism.  In 2010, when Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriages, Cardinal Bergoglio encouraged clergy across the country to urge Catholics to protest.
He said the legislation would be harmful to the family.

He was also accused of complicity in the 1976 kidnapping of two liberal Jesuit priests under Argentina's military regime, a charge he flatly denied.

But Bergoglio was also known as a great defender of the poor.  And even though he opposes homosexuality he has called for respect toward homosexuals.  About 10 years ago, he also visited a hospice for victims of HIV-AIDS and kissed and washed feet of some patients there.

Latin America is home to the largest number of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, with Brazil and Mexico having the largest Catholic populations.

  • Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, appears on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, March 13, 2013.
  • April 4, 2005: Jorge Mario Bergoglio conducts a mass in honor of Pope John Paul II at the Buenos Aires cathedral. Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope on March 13, 2013 to lead the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Crowds cheer as white smoke rises from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, March 13, 2013.
  • White smoke rising from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel, indicating that a new pope has been elected.
  • Crowds cheer as white smoke rises from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel, March 13, 2013.
  • Nuns smile in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 13, 2013.
  • People crowd Saint Peter's Square to await the sight of smoke from the chimney above the Sistine Chapel.
  • Visitors wait in Saint Peter's Square during the second day of voting, March 13, 2013.
  • Black smoke rises from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City indicating that no decision has been made after the first day of voting for the election of a new pope, March 12, 2013.
  • The crowd waits during the conclave in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 12, 2013.
  • A view of the balcony on the facade of Saint Peter's Basilica where the newly elected pope will make his first appearance to salute the cheering crowd, at the Vatican, March 11, 2013.
  • Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican is silhouetted during sunset in Rome, March 11, 2013.
  • Saint Peter's Square, seen from the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid