Known for outreach to poor, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been officially announced as the new pope of Vatican City. He is a soccer fan, as other Argentineans, and his favorite is San Lorenzo team. He leads a simple lifestyle using public transportation, cooking own meals and also had given up palace for a small apartment.
Pronounced as ber-GOAL-io, the new pope is 76-year-old and will be called Francis. He has created history by becoming first non-European pope in last 1200 years and first from the Jesuit order too.
Bergoglio was chosen as the new pope on Wednesday by Catholic cardinals. He is a conventional choice too as he backs Vatican positions on gay marriage, abortion, ordination of women and few other sensitive issues.
He stood up to the military dictatorship of Argentina in the 1970s when the country was going through Dirty War named conflict between right and left that led to the disappearance, torture and killing of as many as 30,000 people. He was criticized for his stand but many still praises him for his passionate defender of the poor.
In 2001 he surprised all at Muniz Hospital in the capital washing the feet of twelve patients suffering from infection of AIDS virus. He kissed their feet telling “society forgets the sick and the poor.”
Last year in September the new pope even scolded priests refusing to baptize kids of unwed mothers. He said, “No to hypocrisy… They are the ones who separate the people of God from salvation.”
Bergoglio was born on December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires to immigrant from northern Italy Mario Bergoglio and homemaker Regina Bergoglio. He was a brilliant student and studied chemistry. Just before turning 33 he was ordained a priest. In 1973 he was named Jesuit provincial for the country and was in charge of supervising order’s activities.
After the Dirty War he was accused of supporting the dictatorship but in an interview published in 2010 he defended it saying he in fact helped people from being arrested.
In 2005 he was elected as head of Argentine Conference of Bishops which was also renewed after three-year of term when the church was dealing with political scandal.
After the official announcement of him becoming the new pope on Wednesday Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, when asked about Bergoglio’s role in the Dirty War said, “I haven’t seen anything other than conjecture.”
Ben Azimio is a student and a freelance writer, most of the articles he’s been working on were mostly for politics. He had also written articles for Mr. Frank Biden, the brother of US Vice President.