Vatican announces that Cardinal Jose Mario Bergoglio, 77, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the new pope of the Catholic Church. He is the first non-European pope in modern history. First American pope. He is the first Jesuit pope!
In Buenos Aires, he chose not to live in the ornate church mansion, preferring a simple bed in a downtown room heated by a small stove. For many years, he took public transportation around the city, and cooked his own meals.
He was a chemistry teacher before becoming auxilary bishop of Buenos Aires. He was also provincial of the Jesuits.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who would be the first Jesuit pope if chosen, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.
He has taken the name of St. Francis of Assisi — showing his dedication to the poor and his love for the people of Italy.
He asked first for the people of God to pray for him and bowed low as he received it from the people. Only then did he offer his papal blessing. He said:
“As you know, the duty of the conclave was to appoint a bishop of Rome. It seems to me that my brother cardinals have chosen one who is from far away, but here I am.
“I would like to thank you for your embrace, also to … the bishops, thank you very much.
“First and foremost, I would like to pray for our emeritus pope, Benedict XVI. Let us pray all of us together … so that he’s blessed by the Lord and guarded.”
Pope Francis then asked everyone to join him in praying the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary. What a stunning moment!
“Is Bergoglio a progressive – a liberation theologist even? No. He’s no third-world priest. Does he criticize the International Monetary Fund, and neoliberalism? Yes. Does he spend a great deal of time in the slums? Yes,” said his biographer Sergio Rubin.
John Allen’s earlier report included these quotes from Bergoglio below:
“Only someone who has encountered mercy, who has been caressed by the tenderness of mercy, is happy and comfortable with the Lord,” Bergoglio said in 2001. “I beg the theologians who are present not to turn me in to the Sant’Uffizio or the Inquisition; however, forcing things a bit, I dare to say that the privileged locus of the encounter is the caress of the mercy of Jesus Christ on my sin.”
“We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church,” Bergoglio said recently. “It’s true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that’s sick because it’s self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former.”