The Roman Catholic Church has named their 266th pope. Pope Francis, the first elected Latin American, who was formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. It was thought that his age of 76 had ruled him out of the papacy, but the people of Buenos Aires, where he was Archbishop, rejoiced in his being elected.
His humility is said to have had an impact in Argentina, where he stressed social inclusion of marginalized society. He flies economy class, takes the bus, he often prefers his black robe rather than the cardinal’s red and purple vest, and lives in a simple flat in the Archdiocese building.
Francesca Ambrogetti, co-author of his biography, believes that Pope Francis will be a balancing force. “He shares the view that the Church should have a missionary role, that gets out to meet people…a church that does not so much regulate the faith as promote and facilitate it.”
In 1969 he was ordained as a Jesuit, and then studied in Argentina and Germany. In 1992, he became bishop and then six years later, Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Soon following his election into the papacy, Pope Francis wrote a letter to Rome’s chief Rabi Riccardo di Segni in hopes to continue progress between the Jewish and Catholic communities. Pope Francis’ background with building up interfaith relations gives promise to his furthering bonds between the Catholic community and those of other faiths. For instance, after a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Argentina, which killed 85 people, Bergoglio provided aid to the Buenos Aires’ Jewish community.
It is reported that Pope Francis wishes for the church to be both poor and for the poor.
There is some concern for him due to the fact that he only has one lung, as this might affect his health. There is also additional concern for the possible influence of a living former pope, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.