BREAKING: Pope Francis Becomes First South American Pontiff

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, has been elected Pope, replacing the retired Pope Benedict XVI. Bergoglio became the first pontiff to take the regnal name of Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi.

Francis is the first pontiff from South America, and the first pope born outside of Europe to ascend to the Throne of St. Peter since Gregory III in 731 A.D.

The selection of Francis came as something of a surprise. Francis is the ninth-oldest man ever elected pope, though he is two years younger than Benedict XVI was when elected in 2005. Francis is believed to have finished second to Benedict in that vote, and many see him as a compromise selection.

Francis takes over the reins of a church that has seen its image badly tarnished in Europe and the United States, with a series of child molestation scandals throughout the world. The church is also at odds with much of its laity over the role of women in the church and in life, the legality and moral rectitude of contraception, and rights for LGBT individuals.

Francis’ selection is a signal that the church recognizes that Latin America looms large in its future. What else it signals is unclear. Francis has been known as a more humble leader during his time as archbishop, eschewing some of the perks of leadership to live in a modest apartment, and riding the bus rather than using the car and driver he had at his disposal.

Francis’ selection represents a hopeful sign for those who want the Catholic Church to work more on issues of poverty. Francis has spoken out in favor of social justice and aid to the poor. His choice of name is another signal that he might be interested in focusing on poverty. His namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, was born wealthy, but gave up his worldly possessions to live in poverty.

People hoping for a move toward more tolerance on social issues, however, are likely to be disappointed. Francis has been, unsurprisingly, anti-choice and anti-euthanasia. He has called adoption by homosexuals a form of discrimination against children, and called same-sex marriage a “machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.” Also, while Francis becomes the first Jesuit to serve as pontiff, he is known as a doctrinal conservative, and is not part of the more liberal wing of the Jesuit order.

Francis has also been criticized for his relationship with the Argentinian junta that led Argentina from 1976 through 1983. Francis has been accused of being too solicitous of the military dictatorship and choosing to accept the government, rather than work against them as many other priests in Argentina did.


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Image Credit: Wikipedia


Louise D.
Louise D4 years ago

I would of thought that there was a need for an Irish Pope and the best candidate would of been a fine upstanding member of the priesthood like Father Jack Hackett he has no problem with abortion, women, gay marriage or as long as he is given copious amounts of drink. He has a formidable reputation and is considered a “safe pair of hands”. Bit grubby, but safe.

E. J.
Past Member 4 years ago

I hope he upholds the values of the Christian faith.

D D.
De D4 years ago

This is old news.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

Humbug. It's not news anymore. And although i do appreciate his humility and warm demeaner...well he is definitely not the progressive thinking Pope this world so desperately was hoping for and needs...very disappointing. same ideology just different face.

Stephanie Reap
Stephanie Reap4 years ago

I like his personality because he is a man of the people so I truly hope he uses this to apologize to his people for the years of hurt the catholic church has done by its cover-ups!!!

Shanti S.
S S4 years ago

Thank you.

Aud Nordby
Aud n4 years ago


John Hablinski
John Hablinski4 years ago

Sandra S, I wish there was even a chance that Pope Francis will take particular note that half the poor are women. Without doubt these first few days of his papacy have shown his attitudes concerning his personal rank and privilege of station will be very different than Benedict XVI. I don’t think we will ever see Francis wearing an ermine bordered mozzetta or the little Camauro a cap also bordered in ermine and I doubt he will ever even wear the red shoes or the Cappello Romano, a hat a little like a cowboy hat; these are items traditional to the papacy but most have gone out of favor in recent years but which were revived by Benedict XVI. I seriously doubt we will see any relaxation of birth control nor would it surprise me to see them tightened. I rather expect him to order American Nuns & Sisters back into habits and convents, in short I think women will still be chattel and the only female theologian he knows of would be the Virgin Mary. I think it will be open season on the LBGT community and he would probably pay a bounty on their heads if he thought he could get away with it. I’m afraid the civilized world will be very disappointed with Rome for the foreseeable future.

Isabel Araujo
Isabel Araujo4 years ago

Thank you for tje information.