Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, formerly Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13, 2013. He is the 265th successor of Peter, the 266th pope to lead the Catholic Church.

He has chosen the name Francis, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, symbolic of Bergoglio’s preferred simplicity of life, his commitment to the poor and to reformation in the Church. St. Francis of Assisi is also the patron saint of Italy.

Pope Francis is the first South American and first Jesuit to be elected Pope. He is also the first to choose the name Francis. Protocol requires that he not be addressed as Francis I, but only as Francis. Should a second pope choose the name of Francis, he will be referred to as Francis II.

He has lived his entire life in Argentina, South America. Of its 40 million inhabitants, 92% are Roman Catholic. In comparison, Brazil has a population of 190 million, (65% Roman Catholic). The United States has a population of 310 million, (24% Roman Catholic).

The Jesuit Order, also known as the Society of Jesus, was established by St. Ignatius of Loyola in 1534. It is the largest single religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic Church. Numbering 19,000 priests, seminarians, brothers and novices, members serve 112 nations on six continents with the largest number in India and the United States. Jesuits sponsor over 50 high schools and 28 colleges and universities in the United States.

Cardinal Bergoglio’s Ash Wednesday Reflection for Lent is available here.
Cardinal Bergoglio's Letter on the Year of Fatih is available here.

The newly elected Pope:

• was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires and is 76 years old

• holds a degree as a chemical technician
• obtained a degree in philosophy
• completed his doctoral thesis in Germany (1986)

• taught literature and psychology (1964-66)

• was ordained a priest of the Jesuit Order(1969)
• was elected as Provincial for Argentina (1973-79)

• was rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel
• was pastor of the Patriarca San Jose parish, Diocese of San Miguel (1980 -86)

• was appointed Bishop of Auca (1992)
• was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires (1997)
• succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino (1998)
• was proclaimed Cardinal by Blessed John Paul II (2001)

• was appointed Adjunct Relator General of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly
  of the Synod of Bishops (2001)
• was elected President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina (2005-11).

He was a member of:

• Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments
• Congregation for the Clergy
• Institute of Consecrated Life
• Institute of Societies of Apostolic Life
• Pontifical Council for the Family
• Pontifical Commission for Latin America

He has written the following books and papers. All are available at the present, only in Spanish.

Dialogues Between John Paul II and Fidel Castro
About Heaven and Earth: A Dialogue with Rabbi Abraham Skorka
Corruption and Sin: Some Reflections on the Issue of Corruption
We as Citizens, We as a People
The Social Obligations of Our Time:
  Social Debts According to the Doctrine of the Church

Nation Building: Utopian Thought and Commitment
Teaching: Demand and Passion, The Challenge for Christian Educators
Consensus for Development--Reflections on Solidarity and Development
Real Power is Service
Reflections on Hope
Bringing the Nation Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Memory and the Way of Hope

Additional information will be forthcoming at the Mission and Ministry home page.

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