Here’s a primer on Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who became the first South American Pope this afternoon.
- Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Dec. 17, 1936.
- He has four brothers and sisters. His father was an Italian immigrant and railway worker, and his mother was a housewife.
- Prior to becoming Supreme Pontiff, he had been Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998, and a cardinal since 2001.
- Before becoming Archbishop, he taught literature, philosophy, theology, and psychology.
- He also has a philosophy degree from the Catholic University of Buenos Aires and a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires.
- In 1958, at the age of 21, he decided to enter the Society of Jesus, and started studying to become a Jesuit priest.
- As the Archbishop of Buenos Aires he turned down the opportunity to live in the palatial Archibishop’s residence, opting for a spartan apartment instead.
- He takes the bus.
- He only has one lung. His second got infected when he was a teenager, and it had to be removed.
- An email chain once alleged he “never smiled.”
- After Argentina legalized gay marriage in July 2010, Bergoglio described the new law as “a scheme to destroy God’s plan” and “a real and dire anthropological throwback.” When the legislation was still being debated, he called it “a move by the father of lies to confuse and deceive the children of God.” Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said Bergoglio’s comments were “really reminiscent of the times of the Inquisition.”
- Bergoglio also called gay adoption “discrimination against children,” charging that the practice was “depriving [children] of the human growth that God wanted them given by a father and a mother.”
- Shortly before the 2005 Conclave that ultimately elected Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, accusing him of having been complicit in the 1976 kidnappings of two priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, by Argentina’s military dictatorship. Bergoglio, who had been superior of the Society of Jesus of Argentina at the time, completely denied the claim.
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