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Pope Francis


Pope Francis in March 2013Francis (/ˈfrænsɨs/, /ˈfrɑːnsɪs/; Latin: Franciscus [franˈtʃiskus]; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio; 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church, elected by the Papal conclave on 13 March 2013.

A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was ordained as a priest in 1969. In 1998 he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2001 a cardinal. He was elected pope following the resignation of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013. Bergoglio chose the name Francis (the first time a pope has taken that name) in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is both the first Jesuit pope and the first pope from the Americas. He is also the first pope from outside Europe since Gregory III in the 8th century.

Early life

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of Italian immigrants of Piedmontese origin, Mario José Bergoglio, a railway worker, and his wife Regina María Sivori, a housewife. As a teenager, Bergoglio had a lung removed as a result of an infection. He graduated from a technical secondary school as a chemical technician and then, at the age of 21, decided to become a priest.

Pre-papal career

Jesuit

Bergoglio entered the Society of Jesus on 11 March 1958 and studied to become a priest at the Jesuit seminary in Villa Devoto. In 1960, Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo San José in San Miguel; in 1964 and 1965, he taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada, a high school in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina, and in 1966 he taught the same courses at the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires.

In 1967, Bergoglio finished his theological studies and was ordained to the priesthood on 13 December 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. He attended the Facultades de Filosofía y Teología de San Miguel (Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel), a seminary in San Miguel, Buenos Aires province. Bergoglio attained the position of novice master there and became professor of theology.

The Society of Jesus promoted Bergoglio and he served as provincial for Argentina from 1973 to 1979. He was transferred in 1980 to become the rector of the seminary in San Miguel, and served in that capacity until 1986. He worked on a doctoral dissertation at Sankt Georgen in Germany and returned to Argentina to serve as confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.

Bishop

Bergoglio was named Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and was ordained on 27 June 1992 as Titular Bishop of Auca, with Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, serving as principal consecrator.

Bergoglio succeeded Cardinal Quarracino as Archbishop of Buenos Aires on 28 February 1998 and was concurrently named ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who had lacked their own prelate.

Cardinal

Cardinal Bergoglio SJ celebrating mass at the XX Exposición del Libro Católico [20th Catholic Book Fair], in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

At the consistory of 21 February 2001, Archbishop Bergoglio was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II with the title of cardinal-priest of San Roberto Bellarmino. As cardinal, Bergoglio was appointed to five administrative positions in the Roman Curia:

  • Member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
  • Member of the Congregation for the Clergy
  • Member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
  • Member of the Pontifical Council for the Family
  • Member of the Commission for Latin America

Jorge Bergoglio in 2008Cardinal Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice. A simple lifestyle contributed to his reputation for humility. He lived in a small apartment, rather than in the palatial bishop's residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation.

On the death of Pope John Paul II, Bergoglio was considered one of the papabile cardinals. He participated as a cardinal elector in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. La Stampa reported that Bergoglio was in close contention with Ratzinger during the election, until he made an emotional plea that the cardinals should not vote for him. Earlier, he had participated in the funeral of Pope John Paul II and acted as a regent alongside the College of Cardinals, governing the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church during the interregnum sede vacante period.

During the 2005 Synod of Bishops, he was elected a member of the post-synodal council. Catholic journalist John L. Allen, Jr. reported that Bergoglio was a frontrunner in the 2005 Conclave. An unauthorized diary of uncertain authenticity released in September 2005 confirmed that Bergoglio was the runner-up and main challenger of Cardinal Ratzinger at that conclave. The purported diary of the anonymous cardinal claimed Bergoglio received 40 votes in the third ballot, but fell back to 26 at the fourth and decisive ballot.

On 8 November 2005, Bergoglio was elected president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference for a three-year term (2005–08) by a large majority of the Argentine bishops. He was reelected on 11 November 2008.

As a cardinal, Bergoglio was associated with Communion and Liberation, a conservative Catholic association of the faithful.

In Argentina, opinion is divided; some support Bergoglio and admire his austere lifestyle, while others disapprove of his opposition to issues like same-sex marriage and are uneasy about his supposed ties to the country's oppressive military dictatorship in the 1970s.


Relations with the Argentine government

As provincial

Bergoglio has been the subject of allegations regarding the kidnapping of two priests by the military during Argentina's Dirty War in 1976, whom he had dismissed just prior to their disappearance. In 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, as superior in the Society of Jesus of Argentina, accusing him of involvement in the kidnapping by the Navy in May 1976 of the two Jesuit priests. The lawyer's complaint did not specify the nature of Bergoglio's alleged involvement, and Bergoglio's spokesman flatly denied the allegations. The lawsuit was ultimately dismissed. The priests, Orlando Yorio and Franz Jalics, had been tortured, but found alive five months later, drugged and semi-naked. Yorio accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over to the death squads by declining to tell the regime that he endorsed their work. Yorio (who died in 2000) claimed in a 1999 interview that he believed that Bergoglio did nothing "to free us, in fact just the opposite". Jalics initially refused to discuss the complaint after moving into seclusion in a German monastery. However, after the election of Pope Francis, Jalics issued a statement confirming the kidnapping and attributing the cause to a former lay collaborator who became a guerrilla, was captured, and named Yorio and Jalics when interrogated. Jalics further stated: "I can not comment on the role of P. Bergoglio in these processes". Father Jalics has publicly reconciled with Bergoglio and considers the matter closed. Alicia Oliveira, a former Argentine Judge, states that she has known Bergoglio for decades, and that during the "Dirty War" the future Pope "was anguished" and "very critical of the dictatorship". Oliveira met with him at the time and urged Bergoglio to speak out — he told her that "he couldn't. That it wasn't an easy thing to do."

Bergoglio told his authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, that after the priests' imprisonment he worked behind the scenes for their release; Bergoglio's intercession with dictator Jorge Rafael Videla on their behalf may have saved their lives. In 2010, Bergoglio told Sergio Rubin that he had often sheltered people from the dictatorship on church property, and once gave his own identity papers to a man who looked like him, so he could flee Argentina. The interview with Rubin, reflected in the biography El jesuita, is the only time when Bergoglio spoke with the press about those events.

The artist and human rights activist Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980, said: "Perhaps he didn't have the courage of other priests, but he never collaborated with the dictatorship ... Bergoglio was no accomplice of the dictatorship." Graciela Fernández Meijide, member of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, also said that there was no proof linking Bergoglio with the dictatorship. She told Clarín: "There is no information and Justice couldn't prove it. I was in the APDH during all the dictatorship years and I received hundreds of testimonies. Bergoglio was never mentioned. It was the same in the CONADEP. Nobody mentioned him as instigator or as anything."

Cardinal Bergoglio SJ celebrating mass at the XX Exposicion del Libro Catolico [20th Catholic Book Fair], in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Cardinal Bergoglio SJ celebrating mass at the XX Exposición del Libro Católico
[20th Catholic Book Fair], in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

As bishop

When Bergoglio celebrated Mass in 2004 at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral to mark Argentina's First National Government holiday, then President Néstor Kirchner attended and heard Bergoglio request more political dialogue, reject intolerance, and criticize exhibitionism and strident announcements. Kirchner celebrated the national day elsewhere the following year and the Mass in the Cathedral was suspended. Kirchner considered Bergoglio as a political rival ever since. Bergoglio's relations with Kirchner's widow and successor, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, have been similarly tense. In 2008, Bergoglio called for national reconciliation during disturbances in the country's agricultural regions, which the government interpreted as a support for anti-government demonstrators. The campaign to enact same-sex marriage legislation was a particularly tense period in their relations. In 2006 Bergoglio publicly opposed an attempt by the Argentine government to legalize some cases of abortion. During his time as archbishop, Cristina Fernández rejected 14 requests for meetings by Bergoglio.

As cardinal

In 2012, Bergoglio said that the British Overseas Territory, the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas in Spanish), whose sovereignty is disputed by Argentina and Britain, "belong to Argentina." He said that the islands were "usurped" by the British. Following Bergoglio's ascension to the papacy, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that he "respectfully" disagreed with these views expressed in the past, and that the wish of the people of the islands to remain a British Overseas Territory as shown in the March 2013 referendum should be respected by everyone.

In her first meeting with Francis after he became pope Argentine President Fernández asked him to mediate the Falklands dispute. The British Foreign Office later issued a short statement saying that the dispute over the Falklands was a political matter involving two sovereign nations, in which the Holy See "does not have a role to play."

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio meets Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio meets Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Relations with other religious communities

Evangelical Protestant community

Evangelical leaders including Argentine Luis Palau, who moved to the US in his twenties, have welcomed the news of Bergoglio's election as Pope based on his relations with Evangelical Protestants, noting that Bergoglio's financial manager for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires was an Evangelical Christian whom Bergoglio refers to as a friend. Palau recounts how Bergoglio would not only relax and "drink mate" with that friend, but would also read the Bible and pray with him, based on what Bergoglio called a relationship of friendship and trust. Palau describes Bergoglio's approach to relationships with Evangelicals as one of "building bridges and showing respect, knowing the differences, but majoring on what we can agree on: on the divinity of Jesus, his virgin birth, his resurrection, the second coming." As a result of Bergoglio's election, Palau predicts that "tensions will be eased."

Juan Pablo Bongarrá, president of the Argentine Bible Society, recounts that Bergoglio not only met with Evangelicals, and prayed with them—but he also asked them to pray for him. Bongarrá notes that Bergoglio would frequently end a conversation with the request, "Pastor, pray for me." Additionally, Bongarrá tells the story of a weekly worship meeting of charismatic pastors in Buenos Aires, which Bergoglio attended: "He mounted the platform and called for pastors to pray for him. He knelt in front of nearly 6,000 people, and [the Protestant leaders there] laid hands and prayed."

Other Evangelical leaders agree that Bergoglio's relationships in Argentina make him "situated to better understand Protestantism". Noting that the divide between Catholicism and Protestantism is often present among members of the same families in Argentina, and is therefore an extremely important human issue, "Francis could set the tone for more compassionate conversations among families about the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism."

Other Christian communities

Gregory Venables, Anglican Bishop of Argentina, has called Bergoglio a "devout Christian and friend to Anglicans". Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) greeted the news of Bergoglio's election with a public statement that praised his work with Lutherans in Argentina.

Bergoglio is also known for his efforts "to further close the nearly 1,000-year estrangement with the Orthodox churches". Father Antoni Sevruk, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church of Saint Catherine the Great Martyr in Rome, said that Bergoglio "often visited Orthodox services in the Russian Orthodox Annunciation Cathedral in Buenos Aires" and is known as an advocate on behalf the Orthodox Church in dealing with Argentina's government.

Jewish community

Bergoglio has close ties to the Jewish community of Argentina, and attended Jewish Rosh Hashanah services in 2007 at a synagogue in Buenos Aires. The Catholic Zenit News Agency reported that Bergoglio told the Jewish congregation during his visit that he went to the synagogue to examine his heart, "like a pilgrim, together with you, my elder brothers."

After the 1994 AMIA bombing in that city, a terrorist attack to a Jewish Community Center which killed 85 people, Bergoglio was the first public personality to sign a petition condemning the attack and calling for justice. Leaders of the Jewish community around the world, not just in Argentina, noted that his words and actions "showed solidarity with the Jewish community" in the aftermath of this attack.

The AMIA, a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires

The AMIA, a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires

A former head of the World Jewish Congress, Israel Singer, reported that he worked with Bergoglio in the early 2000s, distributing aid to the poor as part of a joint Jewish-Catholic program called "Tzedaka". Singer notes that he was impressed with Bergoglio's modesty, remembering that "if everyone sat in chairs with handles [arms], he would sit in the one without." Bergoglio's numerous other actions in support of the Jewish community included his co-hosting a Kristallnacht memorial ceremony at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral in 2012.

Abraham Skorka, the rector of the Latin-American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires, and Bergoglio published their conversations on religious and philosophical subjects as Sobre el cielo y la tierra (Between Heaven and Earth). An article in Israel's The Jerusalem Post notes that "Unlike John Paul II, who as a child had positive memories of the Jews of his native Poland but due to the Holocaust had no Jewish community to interact with in Poland as an adult, Pope Francis has maintained a sustained and very positive relationship with a living, breathing [Jewish] community in Buenos Aires."

Bergoglio joined a group of clerics from a number of different religions to light candles in a 2012 synagogue ceremony on the occasion of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

Islamic community

Leaders of the Islamic community in Buenos Aires welcomed the news of Bergoglio's election as pope, noting that he "always showed himself as a friend of the Islamic community", and a person whose position is "pro-dialogue".

Buenos Aires Islamic leaders praise Bergoglio's close ties with the Islamic community by citing his reactions to a 2005 incident when Pope Benedict XVI quoted a medieval document that described Muhammad as "evil and inhuman". According to them, Bergoglio immediately distanced himself from the quotes, noting that statements that create outrage within the Islamic community "will serve to destroy in 20 seconds the careful construction of a relationship with Islam that Pope John Paul II built over the last 20 years.”

King Fahd Islamic Centre, Buenos Aires

King Fahd Islamic Centre, Buenos Aires

Bergoglio visited both a mosque and an Islamic school in Argentina, visits that Sheik Mohsen Ali, the Director for the Diffusion of Islam, called actions that strengthened the relationship between the Catholic and Islamic communities. Dr. Sumer Noufouri, Secretary General of the Islamic Center of the Argentine Republic (CIRA), added that Bergoglio's past actions make his election as pope a cause within the Islamic community of "joy and expectation of strengthening dialogue between religions". Noufouri said that the relationship between CIRA and Bergoglio over the course of a decade had helped to build up Christian-Muslim dialogue in a way that was "really significant in the history of monotheistic relations in Argentina".

Interfaith dialogue

Bergoglio has also written about his commitment to open and respectful interfaith dialogue as a way for all parties engaged in that dialogue to learn from one another. In the 2011 book that records his conversations with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Sobre el cielo y la tierra, Bergoglio said:

Dialogue is born from an attitude of respect for the other person, from a conviction that the other person has something good to say. It assumes that there is room in the heart for the person’s point of view, opinion, and proposal. To dialogue entails a cordial reception, not a prior condemnation. In order to dialogue it is necessary to know how to lower the defenses, open the doors of the house, and offer human warmth.

Papacy

As pope his manner is less formal than those of his predecessors. On the night of his election he took the bus back to his hotel with the cardinals, rather than be driven in the papal car. The next day he visited Cardinal Jorge María Mejía in the hospital and chatted with patients and staff. At his first media audience, the Friday after his election, the Pope said of Saint Francis of Assisi: "The man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man," and he added "How I would like a poor Church, and for the poor".

Election to the papacy

Bergoglio was elected pope on 13 March 2013, the second day of the 2013 papal conclave, taking the papal name Francis. Francis was elected on the fifth ballot of the conclave. The Habemus Papam was delivered by Cardinal protodeacon Jean-Louis Tauran.

Francis appears to the public for the first time as pope at the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, 13 March 2013

Francis appears to the public for the first time as pope at the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, 13 March 2013

Instead of accepting his cardinals' congratulations while seated on the Papal throne, Francis received them standing, reportedly an immediate sign of a changing approach to formalities at the Vatican. During his first appearance as pontiff on the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica, he wore a white cassock, not the red, ermine-trimmed mozzetta used by the previous Pope Benedict XVI. He also wore the same iron pectoral cross that he had worn as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, rather than the gold one worn by his predecessors.

After being elected and choosing his name, his first act was bestowing the Urbi et Orbi blessing to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. Francis began with "Buonasera" ("good evening"), breaking with the traditional formality at this event. Before blessing the pilgrims, he asked those in St. Peter's Square to pray for the pope emeritus, Benedict XVI and for himself.

Choice of name

At his first audience on 16 March 2013, Francis told journalists that he had chosen the name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, and had done so because he was especially concerned for the well-being of the poor. He explained that, as it was becoming clear during the conclave voting that he would be elected the new pontiff, the Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes had embraced him and whispered "don't forget the poor", which had made him think of the saint. Author and Vatican reporter John Allen remarked that the choice of the name Francis sent a clear message to the Church about the new Pope's intention to let "the church of the spirit, a humble and simple community of equals with a special love for the least of this world.... shine through." This is the first time that a pope has been named "Francis"[c] and the first time since Pope Lando's 913–914 reign that a serving pope held a name unused by a predecessor.

Saint Francis preaches to the animals

Saint Francis preaches to the animals

Francis also mentioned at the audience that some cardinal-electors had jokingly suggested to him that he should choose either "Adrian", since Pope Adrian VI had been a reformer of the church, or "Clement" as "payback" to Pope Clement XIV who had suppressed the Jesuit order.

Health

Pope Francis, elected at the age of 76, is reported to be in good health due to his austere and healthy lifestyle. Physicians say that his missing lung tissue (which was removed in 1957) does not have a significant impact on his health. The only concern would be decreased respiratory reserve if he had a respiratory infection.

An attack of sciatica in 2007 prevented him from attending a consistory and delayed his return to Argentina for several days.

Curia

On 16 March 2013, Pope Francis asked all those in senior positions of the Curia to "provisionally continue" in office "until other provisions are made".
Inauguration

Pope Francis celebrated his inauguration with a Mass in Saint Peter's Square on 19 March 2013, the theme of which was protection. Highlighting the role played by Saint Joseph as protector of the Holy family and the Church, and Saint Francis's dedication to the poor, he told those gathered for the ceremony the role of protector was not just a Christian one. He called on "all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life" to be protectors of creation, urging world leaders to focus on the protection of the environment, children, the elderly and those in need. The Mass, attended by 200,000 people, was shorter and different in style than previous papal inaugurations. Instead of all cardinals just six representing them declared their obedience to the new pontiff. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew attended, the first time the spiritual head of Orthodox Christians has attended such a ceremony since 1054.

Titles and styles

The official style of the Pope is His Holiness Pope Francis; in Latin, Franciscus, Episcopus Romae.

As pope, his rarely used full title is: His Holiness Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God.

Teachings

Encountering Jesus and rejecting worldliness

In both his first homily as Pope and in his first address to the cardinals, Francis talked about walking in the presence of Jesus Christ and stressed the church mission to announce him. In the audience with the cardinals, he emphasized the concept of "encounter with Jesus":

Stimulated by the Year of Faith, all together, pastors and faithful, we will make an effort to respond faithfully to the eternal mission: to bring Jesus Christ to humanity, and to lead humanity to an encounter with Jesus Christ: the Way, the Truth and the Life, truly present in the Church and, at the same time, in every person. This encounter makes us become new men in the mystery of Grace, provoking in our hearts the Christian joy that is a hundredfold that given us by Christ to those who welcome Him into their lives.

In his homily, he stressed that "if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord." He went on to teach that "When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil... when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly".

The theme of rejecting "spiritual worldliness", has been described as a "leitmotif" of his teachings even before he became Pope. Understanding this worldliness as "putting oneself at the center", he said that it is the "greatest danger for the Church, for us, who are in the Church".

Morality as response to God's mercy

Bergoglio views morality in the context of an encounter with Christ. This encounter is "triggered" by mercy, and the "privileged locus of the encounter is the caress of the mercy of Jesus Christ on my sin." And thus, he says, a new morality—a correspondence to mercy—is born. He views this morality as a "revolution": it is "not a titanic effort of the will", but "simply a response" to a "surprising, unforeseeable, and 'unjust' mercy". It is "not a 'never falling down' but an 'always getting up again.'"

He told his biographers that he changed his life when, at 17 years of age, he started a day of student celebrations by going to confession. "A strange thing happened to me...It was a surprise, the astonishment of an encounter...This is the religious experience: the astonishment of encountering someone who was waiting for you... God is the one who seeks us first."

Responding to Jesus' mercy is also found in his papal motto: Miserando atque eligendo. The phrase is taken from a homily of St. Bede, who commented that Jesus "saw [St. Matthew] the tax collector and, because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him, he said to him: 'Follow me'" (italics added to refer to English translation of the Latin motto). Coincidentally the Gospel reading for the Sunday he was scheduled to give his first public address was on Jesus' forgiveness of the adulteress woman. This allowed him to discuss ideas such as: God never wearies of forgiving us; hearing the word mercy, this word changes everything; mercy is beautiful; never tire in asking for forgiveness.

Creative transformation in evangelization

Another theme Pope Francis emphasized in his first address to the cardinals is the new evangelization. He talked about "the certainty that the Holy Spirit gives His Church, with His powerful breath, the courage to persevere and to search for new ways to evangelise."

It is a theme he has repeated in other occasions, specifically in his biography, where he spoke about "transforming pastoral modes" and "revising the internal life of the church so as to go out to the faithful people of God," with "great creativity." He observed that church cannot be passively waiting for clientele among people who are no longer evangelized and who "will not get near structures and old forms that do not respond to their expectations and sensibilities." He asked for pastoral conversion from a church that regulates the faith to a church that transmits and facilitates the faith.

He said that the heart of the mission is summarized in this: "if one remains in the Lord one goes out of oneself... Fidelity is always a change, a blossoming, a growth." Key to evangelization is the role of the laity who should avoid the "problem" of being clericalized as their "baptism alone should suffice".

Poverty and economic inequality

At a meeting of Latin American bishops in 2007 Bergoglio said "[w]e live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most, yet reduced misery the least" and that "[t]he unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers". On 30 September 2009, Bergoglio spoke at a conference organized by the Argentina City Postgraduate School (EPOCA) at the Alvear Palace Hotel titled "Las deudas sociales de nuestro tiempo" ("The Social Debts of Our Time") in which he quoted the 1992 "Documento de Santo Domingo" by the Latin American Episcopal Conference, saying "extreme poverty and unjust economic structures that cause great inequalities" are violations of human rights. He went on to describe social debt as "immoral, unjust and illegitimate".

During a 48-hour public servant strike in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio observed the differences between "poor people who are persecuted for demanding work, and rich people who are applauded for fleeing from justice". In 2002, during an economic crisis, Bergoglio harshly criticized those in power, saying, "Let's not tolerate the sad spectacle of those who no longer know how to lie and contradict themselves to hold onto their privileges, their rapaciousness, and their ill-earned wealth." During a May 2010 speech in Argentina regarding the poor, he directed his message to the wealthy by saying: "You avoid taking into account the poor. We have no right to duck down, to lower the arms carried by those in despair. We must reclaim the memory of our country who has a mother, recover the memory of our Mother". In 2011, Bergoglio stated: "There is a daily anesthesia that this city knows how to use very well, and it is called bribery, and with this anesthesia the conscience is numbed. Buenos Aires is a bribe-taking city."

In 2011, Bergoglio decried sweatshops and homelessness in Buenos Aires as forms of slavery:

In this city, slavery is the order of the day in various forms, in this city workers are exploited in sweatshops and, if immigrants, are deprived of the opportunity to get out. In this city, there are kids on the streets for years....... The city failed and continues to fail in the attempt to free them from this structural slavery that is homelessness.

In line with the Catholic Church's efforts to care for AIDS victims, he is well remembered for his 2001 visit to a hospice, in which he washed and kissed the feet of 12 AIDS patients.

Aparecida Document

Child abuse, trafficking, and prostitution

In 2007, as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio presented the final version of a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America – the "Aparecida Document" – upon its approval by Pope Benedict XVI. Bergoglio denounced what he characterized as a cultural tolerance of child abuse. He spoke strongly against the abuse of children as "demographic terrorism" and decried their exploitation saying, "Children are mistreated, and are not educated or fed. Many are made into prostitutes and exploited." In 2011, Bergoglio condemned child trafficking and sex slavery in Buenos Aires:

In this city, there are many girls who stop playing with dolls to enter the dump of a brothel because they were stolen, sold, betrayed ... In this city, women and girls are kidnapped, and they are subjected to use and abuse of their body; they are destroyed in their dignity. The flesh that Jesus assumed and died for is worth less than the flesh of a pet. A dog is cared for better than these slaves of ours, who are kicked, who are broken.

Abortion, euthanasia, birth control, and the elderly

Bergoglio also encouraged his clergy and laity to oppose both abortion and euthanasia, describing the pro-choice movement as a "culture of death", and had opposed the free distribution of contraceptives in Argentina. As Archbishop, Bergoglio publicly spoke against the Kirchner government's attempts to institute the free distribution of contraceptives. The Aparecida Document links worthiness to receive the Eucharist to compliance and acceptance of Church teaching against abortion and euthanasia:

We hope that legislators, heads of government, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and of the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia; that is their responsibility ... We should commit ourselves to "eucharistic coherence", that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals.

He further denounced a "culture of discarding" the elderly and treating them as if they are disposable and worthless due to their advanced age.
Homosexuality and same-sex marriage

Bergoglio opposes same-sex marriage, describing it as the devil's work. When Argentina was considering legalizing it in 2010, he believed that the Church's opposition could not prevent its passage and proposed that the country's bishops support civil unions as an alternative. When his fellow bishops rejected that position, he joined their unsuccessful opposition to the legislation and called it a "real and dire anthropological throwback". In July 2010, while the law was under consideration, he wrote a letter to Argentina's cloistered nuns in which he said:

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 and one was defrocked. Observers believe that the church's opposition and Bergoglio's language, which was criticized by rights groups and politicians, including the President of Argentina, worked in favor of the law's passage and that Catholic officials learned from their failed campaign against the same-sex marriage law to adopt a different tone in later debates on social issues such as parental surrogacy.

Writings

Books

  • Bergoglio, Jorge (1982) (in Spanish). Meditaciones para religiosos [Meditations for the Religious]. Buenes Aires: Diego de Torres. OCLC 644781822.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (1992) (in Spanish). Reflexiones en esperanza [Reflections of Hope]. Buenes Aires: Ediciones Universidad del Salvador. OCLC 36380521.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (2003) (in Spanish). Educar: exigencia y pasión: desafíos para educadores cristianos [To Educate: Exactingness and Passion]. Buenes Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505124572.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (2003) (in Spanish). Ponerse la patria al hombro: memoria y camino de esperanza [Putting the Motherland on One's Shoulders]. Buenes Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505125111.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (2005) (in Spanish). La nación por construir: utopía, pensamiento y compromiso: VIII Jornada de Pastoral Social [The Nation to Be Built]. Buenes Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505125463.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (2006) (in Spanish). Corrupción y pecado: algunas reflexiones en torno al tema de la corrupción [Corruption and Sin]. Buenes Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505125722.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (2007) (in Spanish). El verdadero poder es el servicio [True Power Is Service]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. OCLC 688511686.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (2009) (in Spanish). Seminario: las deudas sociales de nuestro tiempo: la deuda social según la doctrina de la iglesia. Buenos Aires: EPOCA-USAL. ISBN 9788493741235.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge; Skorka, Abraham (2010) (in Spanish). Sobre el cielo y la tierra [On Heaven and Earth]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana. ISBN 9789500732932.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (2010) (in Spanish). Seminario Internacional: consenso para el desarrollo: reflexiones sobre solidaridad y desarrollo. Buenes Aires: EPOCA. ISBN 9789875073524.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (2011) (in Spanish). Nosotros como ciudadanos, nosotros como pueblo: hacia un bicentenario en justicia y solidaridad. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claretiana. ISBN 9789505127443.

Other

  • Bergoglio, Jorge (1995) (in Spanish). La vida sagrada y su misión en la Iglesia y en el mundo. Argentina Catholic University: Faculty of Theology. OCLC 806712655.
  • Egan, Edward Michael; Bergoglio, Jorge (2001). "Episcopus minister Evangelii Iesu Christi propter spem mundi: relatio post disceptationem". The Catholic Church. The Synod of Bishops. Ordinary General Assembly. E Civitate Vaticana. OCLC 749998123.
  • John Paul, Pope; Castro, Fidel (2004). Bergoglio, Jorge. ed (in Spanish). Diálogos entre Juan Pablo II y Fidel Castro [Dialogues Between John Paul II and Fidel Castro]. Buenos Aires: Ciudad Argentina. ISBN 9789875070745.
  • Bergoglio, Jorge (2007). "Buscar el camino hacia el futuro, llevando consigo la memoria de las raíces" (in Spanish). Humanitas (National Humanities Institute) (47): 468–483. OCLC 176911626.
  • Castiñeira de Dios, José María (2007) (in Spanish). El santito Ceferino Namuncurá: relato en verso. Foreword by Jorge Bergoglio. Buenos Aires: Lumen. ISBN 9789870007340.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Francis





Re-published from TrueChristianity.info in March 2013



 

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