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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis: Quick FACTS and some ODDITIES...

Argentina’s Jorge Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis I waves from the window of St Peter’s Basilica’s balcony after being elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13, 2013 at the Vatican. AFP/VINCENZO PINTO

Habemus Papam! ("We Have a Pope!")

After the rather controversial resignation of Pope Benedict XVI which stunned the world (being the first pope to step down since Gregory XII in 1415 AND among other controversies) , we now have a new Roman Catholic Pope! Below are some quick FACTS and some ODDITIES on the new Roman Catholic Pope- Pope Francis I:

Pope Francis is the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina. As a region, Latin America represents 42 percent of the world's 1.2 billion-strong Catholic population.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio may have chosen to name himself Francis I after the patron saint of Italy, St. Francis of Assisi, but His Holiness is not a Franciscan but a Jesuit.

He is a Jesuit, the first member of the Society of Jesus to be elected pope. The Jesuit order  never have had one of their own as pope despite a long history – the order was founded in 1540 by Spaniard Ignatius of Loyola.

He is the first member of a religious order to become pope since 1831, when the conclave elected Gregory XVI, a Camaldolese Benedictine monk.

Among the 34 popes who were members of a religious order, the Benedictines dominate with 17. Franciscans have had four, but the Jesuits never have had one of their own- till now.

Pope Francis first "official"JOKE as Pope: speaking Italian with a slight Latin American accent, joked with the crowd before delivering his blessing, saying: "As you know the duty of the conclave is to give Rome a bishop. It seems that my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world." The joke, with reference to his being from faraway Argentina -- was not expected.

Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936, and was one of five children in middle class family. He is a humble rail worker’s son who became a Jesuit priest and who is seen as true to his working-class roots.

A respiratory illness, which he suffered during his youth, left him with only one lung.

Having studied chemical engineering, Bergoglio entered the seminary in the Villa Devoto neighborhood of his native city. In 1958 he joined the Jesuit order, and went on to study humanities in Chile before returning to Buenos Aires in 1960 where he got a degree in philosophy.
Priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Cardinal and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. 1973 Photo: AP
In 1969, he was ordained a priest and just four years later was named provincial superior of Argentina, a post he held until 1979.

In 1997 he was named coadjutor archbishop of Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, whom he automatically replaced as Archbishop of Buenos Aires when the cardinal died in 1998. He was the first from the Jesuit Order to ever hold this post.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, right, kisses the hand of late Pope John Paul II during a ceremony at the Vatican. An undated picture by journalist Sergio Rubin, (AP Photo/Courtesy of Sergio Rubin, ho)
In 2001, he was made cardinal by Pope John Paul II. In the same year he stepped in to take over the Synod of Bishops at the last minute, and carried out the task to much acclaim.

During Argentina's economic crisis in 2002, Bergoglio attacked the nation's politicians in his homilies, pointing to the terrible poverty and marginalization within the country.

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