Pope Francis

266th pope of the Catholic Church

Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) (Latin: Franciscus, Italian: Francesco, Spanish: Francisco; born on 17 December 1936) is the 266th[2][3] and current pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected on 13 March 2013. He chose the name Francis to honor St. Francis of Assisi.[4][5][6][7]

His Holiness Pope

Bishop of Rome
Pope Francis in 2023
SeeHoly See
Papacy began13 March 2013
PredecessorBenedict XVI
Ordination13 December 1969
by Ramón José Castellano
Consecration27 June 1992
by Antonio Quarracino
Created cardinal21 February 2001
by John Paul II
Personal details
Birth nameJorge Mario Bergoglio
Born (1936-12-17) 17 December 1936 (age 87)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
NationalityArgentine (with Vatican citizenship)
DenominationCatholic Church
ResidenceDomus Sanctae Marthae
ParentsMario José Bergoglio and Regina María Sívori
Previous postProvincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina (1973–1979)
Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires (1992–1997)
Titular Bishop of Auca (1992–1997)
Archbishop of Buenos Aires (1998–2013)
Cardinal Priest of San Roberto Bellarmino (2001–2013)
Ordinary of the Ordinariate for the Faithful of the Eastern Rites in Argentina (1998–2013)
President of the Argentine Episcopal Conference (2005–2011)
MottoMiserando atque eligendo[a]
SignatureFrancis's signature
Coat of armsFrancis's coat of arms
Papal styles of
Pope Francis
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father

Francis is the first Jesuit pope.[6] He is also the first pope in more than a millennium who is not European.[8] He is the first pope ever to come from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.[9]

From 1998 until he was elected as the pope, Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Throughout his life, both as an individual and a religious leader, he has been known for his humility, his concern for the poor, and his commitment to dialogue as a way to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and faiths.[10][11][12] He has expressed concern about the effects of global warming (climate change).[13][14] In his 2015 encyclical Laudato si' , he wrote about these issues, and others.

Since his election to the papacy, he has shown a simpler and less formal approach to the office, choosing to live in the Vatican guesthouse and not the papal residence.

Early life


Pope Francis[15] was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was one of the children of Mario Bergoglio, an Italian railway accountant, and Regina Maria Bergoglio (née Sívori), a housewife.[3][16]

He received a master's degree in philosophy and theology from the University of Buenos Aires.[17] After that, he studied at the seminary in Villa Devoto.[18] He entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) on 11 March 1958.

Career before becoming Pope




Bergoglio became a member of the Society of Jesus in 1958. He was made a priest in 1969. In 1973, he was named "provincial" or head of the Jesuits in Argentina.[19] In the mid-1980s, he began working on a doctoral degree at Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany.[20]



Pope John Paul II appointed Bergoglio the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998. During the 2001 Consistory, Pope named Bergoglio as a Cardinal.

Meeting of Al-Sistani with Pope Francis


Pope Francis and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani met on 6 March 2021 for at most 40 minutes, part of the time alone except for interpreters, in the Shiite cleric’s modest home in the city of Najaf. Every detail was scrutinized ahead of time in painstaking, behind-the-scenes preparations that touched on everything from shoes to seating arrangements.[21] Pope Francis said in a statement that there should be "unity" between followers of different religions.[22]

Cardinal Bergoglio was elected on 13 March 2013. He chose the name "Francis" to honor St. Francis of Assisi.[6][23] Just after he was elected, Francis told a newspaper how he chose the new name:

"Let me tell you a story," he said. He then [explained] how during the conclave he had sat next to Cardinal Cláudio Hummes of Brazil, whom he called "a great friend." After the voting, Cardinal Hummes "hugged me, he kissed me and he said, 'Don't forget the poor!' And that word entered here," the pope said, pointing to his heart. "I thought of wars, while the voting continued, though all the votes," he said ... "And Francis is the man of peace. And that way the name came about, came into my heart: Francis of Assisi." [24]

Despite both his parents being Italians, Francis is the first non-European pope since Pope Gregory III[25] in the 8th century.

Pope Francis is the first pope to speak to a session of the United States Congress. He spoke there during his visit to the United States on 24 September 2015.[26]

Other interests


Personally, Pope Francis likes to read books by authors such as Friedrich Hölderlin, Jorge Luis Borges or Fyodor Dostoevsky. He likes to watch movies of Italian neorealism, and likes to go to the opera.[27][28]

He is also interested in football. He is an active member of San Lorenzo de Almagro, which is one of the teams in the Primera División league.[29]

In 2015, Pope Francis released a progressive rock album titled Wake Up!.[30]



Celibacy of priests


When Bergoglio was a Cardinal, his views about the celibacy of priests were recorded in the book On Heaven and Earth. The book is a record of conversations he had with a Buenos Aires rabbi.[31] In this book, he said that celibacy "is a matter of discipline, not of faith. It can change." However, he added: "For the moment, I am in favor of maintaining celibacy, with all its [positive and negative parts], because we have ten centuries of good experiences rather than failures [...] Tradition has weight and validity."[32]

He also said that "in the Byzantine, Ukrainian, Russian, and Greek Catholic Churches [...] the priests can be married, but the bishops have to be celibate".[32][b] He said that many of those in Western Catholicism who are pushing for more discussion about the issue do so from a position of "pragmatism", based on a loss of manpower.[32] He states that "If, hypothetically, Western Catholicism were to review the issue of celibacy, I think it would do so for cultural reasons (as in the East), not so much as a universal option."[32] He emphasized that, in the meantime, the rule must be strictly followed, and any priest who cannot obey it "has to leave the ministry."[32]

National Catholic Reporter Vatican analyst Thomas Reese, also a Jesuit, called Bergoglio's use of "conditional language" regarding the rule of celibacy "remarkable."[31] He said that phrases like "for the moment" and "for now" are "not the kind of qualifications one normally hears when bishops and cardinals discuss celibacy."[31]

Beliefs about homosexuality


Pope Francis supports the Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are immoral. However, he has said that gay people should be treated with respect.[33][34] Bergoglio is against same-sex marriage. In 2011, he called it "the Devil's work".[35]

Argentina considered legalizing same-sex marriage in 2010. At that time, Bergoglio was against this legislation.[36] He called it a "real and dire anthropological throwback."[37] In July 2010, while the law was under consideration, he wrote a letter to Argentina's cloistered nuns in which he said:[38][39][40]

In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God's law engraved in our hearts.

Let's not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God's plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that's just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God… Let's look to St. Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they defend the Argentine family in this moment... May they support, defend, and accompany us in this war of God.

After L'Osservatore Romano reported this, several priests expressed their support for the law.[39][c] Gay people believe that the church's opposition and Bergoglio's language actually helped the law get passed. They also think that Catholic officials reacted by taking a less harsh tone in later debates on social issues such as parental surrogacy.[42][43]

On 29 July 2013, Pope Francis gave an interview to some journalists who were traveling with him. When asked if there should be gay priests,[44] Pope Francis replied:

If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?

Afterwards, when asked if women should become priests,[44] Francis replied:

The Church has spoken and says no ... that door is closed.

Beliefs about non-Catholics


Three days after being elected Pope, Pope Francis told thousands of news reporters:

[Since] many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I give this blessing from my heart, in silence, to each one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you, but knowing that each one of you is a child of God. May God bless you.[24]

It is very rare for a Pope to bless people who are not Catholics. By doing this, the Pope was showing that he accepted people who belonged to different religions.[24]

We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there. [45]
– Pope Francis, 22 May 2013

In a speech on 20 March, Pope Francis said that some people do not follow any religion, but still search "for truth, goodness and beauty." He said these people are important allies in protecting human dignity; making peace; and caring for the Earth.[46][47] This meant the Pope was saying atheists could be allies of the Catholic Church, instead of enemies.

In the same speech, the Pope said that Catholic and Jewish people are connected "by a most special spiritual bond." To Muslim leaders at the speech he said: "[To] Muslims, who worship God as one, living and merciful, and [call on] him in prayer... I greatly appreciate your presence ... [In] it, I see a ... sign of a will to grow in mutual esteem and in cooperation for the common good of humanity."[47]

In September 2013, Francis wrote a letter that was published in La Repubblica newspaper. The letter said that atheists would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences and did what they thought was right. The newspaper's editor, who is not a Catholic, wrote back with a list of questions. Francis wrote back:

You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don't believe and who don't seek the faith. I start by saying—and this is the [most important] thing—that God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and [truly sorry] heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.[48]



Francis was named 2013 Time Person of the Year in December 2013.[49]



  1. Scarisbrick, Veronica (18 March 2013). "Pope Francis: "Miserando atque eligendo"..." Vatican Radio. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  2. "Argentina's Bergoglio elected as new pope," Archived 2015-06-06 at the Wayback Machine Reuters, 13 March 2013; "List of Popes," Catholic Encyclopedia (2009); retrieved 13 March 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rice-Oxley, Mark (13 March 2013). "Pope Francis: the humble pontiff with practical approach to poverty". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  4. "Pope Francis explains decision to take St Francis of Assisi's name". The Guardian. 16 March 2013. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  5. "Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 77, of Argentina is Pope Francis I". GMA News. Reuters. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.[permanent dead link]
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Habemus Papam! Cardinal Bergolio Elected Pope - Fracis I". Vatican News Agency. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  7. "The Story of Saint Francis..." Vatican Radio.
  8. Cockerton, Paul. "It's Pope Francis I: First non-European elected to lead Catholic Church for 1,000 years," The Mirror (UK). 13 March 2013; retrieved 13 March 2012.
  9. "Cardinal Walter Kasper Says Pope Francis Will Bring New Life To Vatican II". Huffingtonpost.com. 13 April 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  10. Feiden, Douglas (13 March 2013). "Pope Francis, the new leader of the Catholic Church, praised by many for practicing what he preaches, his humble nature and his empathy for the poor". New York Daily News. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  11. Vallely, Paul (14 March 2013). "Pope Francis profile: Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a humble man who moved out of a palace into an apartment, cooks his own meals and travels by bus". The Independent. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  12. "Pope Appeals for More Interreligious Dialogue". 22 March 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  13. "Pope to make moral case for action on climate change". New Scientist. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  14. "Pope rallies bishops to press climate call before Paris meet". Washington Post. Associated Press. 19 October 2015. Archived from the original on 20 October 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2015. Pope Francis encourages bishops from around the world to sign an appeal to world leaders, 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris next month, for crucial climate change talks. In a major teaching document in June, the encyclical Laudato Si' (Latin: Praised be), Francis denounced what he called the "structurally perverse" fossil fuel-based world economy that exploits the poor and destroys the habitability of the Earth for humans.
  15. "Deze domeinnaam is geregistreerd door een klant van Yourhosting.nl". nieuwsupdates.com. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  16. "Biography - Francis". w2.vatican.va.
  17. "Jesuit Argentine Cardinal Bergoglio elected pope, takes name Francis I". Society of Jesus in the United States. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  18. "Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio: a profile". Catholic Herald. 13 March 2013. Archived from the original on 20 January 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  19. "New pope a soccer fan with common touch,"[permanent dead link] Business Times (Singapore). 15 March 2013; retrieved 15 February 2013.
  20. Hans, Barbara. "The Surprise Pope: Humble and Ascetic with a Murky Past," Spiegel (Germanhy). 13 March 2013; excerpt, "Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology, which is located in Frankfurt"; "Papst Franziskus" (Pope Francis), Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen Frankfurt am Main; retrieved 17 March 2013.
  21. Qasim Abdul Zahra; Samya Kullab (3 March 2021). "Intense preparations before pontiff meets Iraqi ayatollah". The Associated Press. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  22. "Pope, Top Shiite Cleric Plead for "Peace" in Historic Iraq Encounter".
  23. "Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 77, of Argentina is Pope Francis". GMA News. Reuters. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.[permanent dead link]
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Donadio, Rachel (16 March 2013). "With Blessing, Pope Shows an Openness to Other Faiths". New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  25. Goodstein, Laurie. "Pope Electors Are Sizing Up a Field of Peers," New York Times. 16 February 2013; retrieved 13 March 2013.
  26. Baker, Peter (24 September 2015). "Pope Francis Challenges Congress to Heal World's 'Open Wounds'". New York Times.com. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  27. Farago, Jason (19 September 2013). "What does Pope Francis's taste in art, music and film say about him?". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
  28. Mobley, Mark (13 March 2013). "Breaking: Pope Francis Loves Opera". Deceptive Cadence from NPR Classical. National Public Radio.
  29. Weiss, Jessica. "He Roots for ‘the Saints,’ on the Soccer Field and Off," New York Times. 14 March 2013; excerpt, "He is No. 88,235 on the club’s member list"; retrieved 15 March 2013.
  30. Kreps, Daniel (25 September 2015). "Pope Francis to Release Pop-Rock Album 'Wake Up!'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Gibson, David, "Book reveals new pope's views on celibacy, abuse, crisis", USA Today (from Religion News Service), 20 March 2013, Retrieved 21 March 2013
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 Connor, Tracy, "Pope Francis spoke of being 'dazzled' by girl, possible change of celibacy rule", worldnews.nbcnews.com, 21 March 2013, Retrieved 21 March 2013
  33. Catholic Online. "NEW POPE: Who is this man named Bergoglio? – Living Faith – Home & Family – Catholic Online". Catholic.org. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  34. "Catechism of the Catholic Church – The sixth commandment". Vatican.va. 29 October 1951. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  35. "Para Bergoglio, la ley de matrimonio gay es 'una movida del Diablo' –". Infobae.com. 30 January 2011. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013. una movida del Diablo
  36. "Clashing Pope Francis, Argentine president meet in Vatican". CBC News. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  37. Padgett, Tim (18 July 2010). "The Vatican and Women: Casting the First Stone". Time. Archived from the original on 11 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  38. Pentin, Edward (8 July 2010). "Cardinal Bergoglio Hits Out at Same-Sex Marriage". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Feder, J. Lester (13 March 2013). "Pope Francis Brings Lessons Of Argentina's Marriage Fight To Rome". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  40. Erin McClam (13 March 2013). "Meet the new pope: Francis is humble leader who takes the bus to work". NBC News.
  41. (in Spanish) "El cura suspendido: A la Iglesia le preocupa más la cama de los argentinos que su mesa". Perfil. 13 July 2010. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  42. Abrevaya, Sebastian (27 August 2012). "Se abroquelan para defender privilegios". Pagina 12 (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 March 2013. medieval, oscurantista
  43. De Vedia, Mariano (16 July 2010). "La carta de Bergoglio, un error estratégico" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 18 October 2017. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  44. 44.0 44.1 "Pope opens up on gay priests, says no to women". MSN.com. 29 July 2013. Archived from the original on 25 July 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  45. Pope Francis (22 May 2013). "Papal Mass, 22 May 2013". Reproduced by Vatican Radio Online. The Holy See. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  46. "Address of the Holy Father Pope Francis". Holy See. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  47. 47.0 47.1 Speciale, Alessandro (20 March 2013). "Pope Francis says atheists can be 'allies' for the church". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  48. Day, Michael (11 September 2013). "Pope Francis assures atheists: You don't have to believe in God to go to heaven". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  49. "Pope Francis named Time Person of the Year 2013". CNN.com. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  1. Press reports have provided a variety of translations for the phrase. According to Vatican Radio: "Pope Francis has chosen the motto Miserando atque eligendo, meaning lowly but chosen; literally in Latin by having mercy, by choosing him. The motto is one Francis used as bishop. It is taken from the homilies of the Venerable Bede on Saint Matthew's Gospel relating to his vocation: 'Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an apostle saying to him: Follow me.'"[1]
  2. Both in the Eastern Catholic Churches and in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, married men can be ordained to the priesthood, but priests cannot marry after having been ordained. See Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 795
  3. One priest was suspended after refusing his bishop's order to cease his advocacy.[41]

Other websites

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Antonio Quarracino
Archbishop of Buenos Aires
28 February 1998 – 13 March 2013
Succeeded by
Mario Aurelio Poli
Preceded by
Benedict XVI
13 March 2013 – present