Jorge Mario Bergoglio, known around the world as Pope Francis is the current and 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected Pope on 13 March 2013 He succeeded Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned in February 2013. As Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is also the sovereign of Vatican City and Bishop of Rome. He chose the papal name Francis; honouring St. Francis of Assassi.
The First Jesuit Pope, Francis is also the first Pope to be elected from outside Europe, since the Pope Gregory III, a Syrian Pope of the 8th century. He is also the first Pope from the Americas and the Southern Hemisphere. Pope Francis was named by Time Magazine as the ‘Person of the Year’ in December 2013. He is known for his humility, his genuine concern for the poor and for bringing a less formal approach, than his predecessors, to the papacy.
Born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 17 December 1936 to Italian immigrant parents, Regina María Sívori, Mario Jose Bergoglio, Pope Francis was the eldest among his siblings; 2 sisters and 2 brothers.
Bergoglio went to Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles which was a school for the Salesians of Don Bosco, in the Ramos Mejía city of Buenos Aires. For his graduation, he attended the Escuela Nacional de Educación Técnica N° 27 Hipólito Yrigoyen, graduating with a chemical technician’s diploma before he began his seminary studies.
In 1969, Bergoglio was ordained as a Catholic Priest and in the years from 1973 to 1979, he was named Argentina’s provincial superior of the Society of Jesus. While, in 1998, he became the ‘Archbishop of Buenos Aires’, he was created Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2002. He was elected Pope by the Papal Conclave following Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to resign on 28 February 2013. He took over as the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church on 13 March 2013. He is the first Pope to ever select the Name Francis after St. Francis of Assissi, who believed in serving the poor.
Pope Francis called for newer ways of evangelizing, in one of his first duties as pope. He emphasised the need for Compassion for our fellow brethren and the mercy of God as a way of living, instead of emphasising on rules and dogmas. He sets an example of compassion by regularly reaching out to homeless people and refugees. Soon after his appointment, The Pope took several decisions, never taken before in the history of the Papacy. Some of the major decisions included the abolishment of bonuses paid to the employees of Vatican when a new Pope is elected, as well as annual bonuses paid to cardinals who serve at the Vatican Bank’s Board of Supervisors. He opted to donate the money to charity, taking his first steps towards the welfare of the poor. He also planned a revise of the Apostolic Constitution or the structure of the organization of the Roman Curia with the help of eight cardinals that he elected as his advisors. He further made the Vatican Bank, formally known as the Institute for the Works of Religion, transparent in its dealings following allegations of money laundering and corruption.
Pope Francis propagates the idea that the church’s role is to be open and welcoming. He is against any sort of unbridled capitalism, Marxism or its versions of liberation theology. When it comes to the teachings of the Church, he prefers and maintains traditional views regarding matters such as clerical celibacy or ordination of women. He is opposed to irresponsible development, consumerism and welcomes action on climate change, which is a chief focus of his papacy. On an international Level, Pope Francis played an instrumental role in restoring the diplomatic relations between America and Cuba.
Pope Francis believes in simplicity and leading a humble lifestyle. This is made evident by his declining most of the luxuries made available to Popes. He prefers to live in the Vatican guesthouse instead of the Papal residence and moves around in a simple car that he believes is only meant to serve its purpose of taking one from one point to another. He also prefers to wear the white Cossack and iron pectoral cross and not the red mozzetta and gold cross. He even wore the white Cossack and iron cross when he made his first appearance as pontiff.
Pope Francis – Salary
Pope Francis has chosen not to receive a salary. His daily needs of food, clothing, shelter and medical care are taken care of by the Vatican. Since Pope Francis has made a vow of poverty, he is also not allowed to own any property.