Cardinals elect a humble man with social justice outreach as pope

A conclave which began with no clear front-runner has come to a unexpected and surprisingly quick conclusion, Cardinals electing Jeorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope.

He has taken the name Francis.

Archbishop Bergoglio is a man who gave up his official house for a small apartment, he cooks his own meals, and travels to work by bus.

The first day after being made an archbishop, he spent helping in a soup kitchen.

Reportedly a humble man, born in Argentenia, he is the son of Italian immigrant railway worker.

He is known for his social justice outreach and his work among the poor.

As reported by CathNews, September 2012, the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio, used strong language to criticise priests who refused to baptise children born to single mothers.

Almost apologising for the actions of some priests, Bergoglio recalled the story of a young unmarried mother who had the courage to bring her child into the world and who then “found herself on a pilgrimage, going from parish to parish, trying to find someone who would baptise her child.”

Appearing on the balcony at the Vatican and dressed simply in white, Pope Francis’ broke with the formulaic tradition. His first words to the the 100,000 people gather in St Peter’s Square were simply, “Good evening”.

“You know that the duty of the conclave was to provide Rome with a bishop,” he said.

“It looks as if my brothers the cardinals went to fetch him from the end of the world! I’d like to thank you for your welcome. The people of Rome: thank you!”

The first Jesuit to be elected pope, Bergoglio was novice master in San Miguel. He was Provincial of the Jesuit provincial in Argentina (1973-1979) and rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel (1980-1986).

As provincial he was very collaborative, Fr Thomas Rosica Deputy Vatican Spokesman told CNN.

“In recent times the Church has lost its way, and every now and then the Lord sends holy people along to call us back to the important things,” Rosica said.

“It’s about being a pastor and shepherd” he said.

Allegedly runner up to Joseph Ratzinger in 2005, Bergoglio now 76, was not commonly spoken about in 2013, many perhaps thinking he was probably outside the age window many perhaps thought as ideal.

According to John L. Allen Jr. at The National Catholic Reporter, Francis represents something of a compromise between the church’s reformers and hard-liners.

Allen said “He appeals to conservatives in the College of Cardinals as a man who had held the line against liberalizing currents among the Jesuits, and to moderates as a symbol of the church’s commitment to the developing world,”

Pope Francis will be inaugurated as Pope in St Peter’s Basilica on March 19 9:30am.




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