Shawn Bateman, Misionary to Argentina
June 7, 2018
“Famous Argentines: Pope Francis”
Is the Pope Catholic? Have you ever heard that rhetorical question? How much do you know about the Pope? Did you know that he is from Argentina?
The new Pope Francis was born December 17th, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina as Jorge Mario Bergoglio. His father was an Italian immigrant and his mother, though born and raised in B.A. was from a family that were immigrants to Argentina from Northern Italy.
He is highly educated. He studied in the Inmaculada Concepcion seminary, before studying humanities in Santiago, Chile. He entered the “Society of Jesus” in 1958, becoming a Jesuit in 1960. Having finished his studies, he was ordained a priest in 1969. He speaks seven languages. After serving in different positions in Buenos Aires and other cities in Argentina he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992. While working as a bishop there in the nation’s capital he focused on helping the poor, thereby procuring the nickname the “Slum Bishop”.
Under his guidance, the number of priests working in the slums doubled. His simple lifestyle gave him a reputation of humility. He lived in a small apartment, cooked his own meals, and traveled by public transportation. His work with the poor earned him a great reputation, not only in Argentina, but throughout the Catholic world.
In 2001, he was promoted to Cardinal by Pope John Paul II, and when the Pope died in 2005, he was one of the frontrunners to assume his position, losing the election to Cardinal Ratzinger, who become Pope Benedict XVI.
In 2013, at the age of 76, he was elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
Throughout his career he has been a person of controversy. He has been at odds with the Argentinian government more than once. His statements against President Trump and his administration are very well known.
At times it seems that he has very left-leaning views on many social subjects. Many in his own church are very concerned over the Pontiff’s statements at times about divorce, homosexuality and governments. He is less formal than his predecessors, and chooses to live in the Vatican Guest house as opposed to the Apostolic Palace.
He is the first of many things. He is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere. He is the first pope from outside of Europe in 1,272 years! He is the most popular Argentine, and the people there love him. Catholicism has seen somewhat of a revival since his election as pope.
You can read more about the pope here
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