Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Pope Francis I: Jorge Bergoglio's a champion of poor who prefers to take bus

An Indian sand artist finishes a sculpture of the new pope in Puri, Orissa state, India (AP)
An Indian sand artist finishes a sculpture of the new pope in Puri, Orissa state, India (AP)
Pope Francis waves from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican (AP)
Pope Francis prays inside St Mary Major Basilica in Rome (AP/L'Osservatore Romano)
Two cardinals walk past Swiss guards as they leave after a meeting at the Vatican to set a date for the conclave to elect a new pope (AP)
A nun walks inside St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Monday, March 11, 2013.
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 11: A member of The Swiss Guard closes the gate at the Arch of the Bells at St Peter's Basilica on March 11, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Cardinals are set to enter the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI after he became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the role. The conclave is scheduled to start on March 12 inside the Sistine Chapel and will be attended by 115 cardinals as they vote to select the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY- MARCH 12: American Cardinals walk to a bus to take them from the North American College to St. Peter's Basilica where a Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated before they enter the Conclave to decide who the next pope will be on March 12, 2013 in Rome, Italy. Cardinals are set to enter the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI after he became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the role. The conclave is scheduled to start in the afternoon inside the Sistine Chapel and will be attended by 115 cardinals as they vote to select the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - MARCH 12: American Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan gestures before boarding a bus to take him and other Cardinals from the North American College to St. Peter's Basilica where a Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated before they enter the Conclave to decide who the next pope will be on March 12, 2013 in Rome, Italy. Cardinals are set to enter the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI after he became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the role. The conclave is scheduled to start in the afternoon inside the Sistine Chapel and will be attended by 115 cardinals as they vote to select the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - MARCH 12: American Cardinals wave to seminarians at the North American College who line the road to watch as they head to St. Peter's Basilica where a Pro eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass will be celebrated before the Cardinals enter the Conclave to decide who the next pope will be on March 12, 2013 in Rome, Italy. Cardinals are set to enter the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI after he became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the role. The conclave is scheduled to start in the afternoon inside the Sistine Chapel and will be attended by 115 cardinals as they vote to select the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 12: A pilgrim prays in St Peter's Square as cardinals attend mass before entering the conclave on March 12, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Benedict XVIÄôs successor is being chosen by the College of Cardinals in Conclave in the Sistine Chapel. The 115 cardinal-electors, meeting in strict secrecy, will need to reach a two-thirds-plus-one vote majority to elect the 266th Pontiff. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 12: A pilgrim prays in St Peter's Square as cardinals attend mass before entering the conclave on March 12, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Benedict XVIÄôs successor is being chosen by the College of Cardinals in Conclave in the Sistine Chapel. The 115 cardinal-electors, meeting in strict secrecy, will need to reach a two-thirds-plus-one vote majority to elect the 266th Pontiff. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 12: A pilgrim prays in St Peter's Square as cardinals attend mass before entering the conclave on March 12, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Benedict XVIÄôs successor is being chosen by the College of Cardinals in Conclave in the Sistine Chapel. The 115 cardinal-electors, meeting in strict secrecy, will need to reach a two-thirds-plus-one vote majority to elect the 266th Pontiff. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
FILE - This Oct. 27, 2011 file photo shows Pope Benedict XVI (little figure in white in background) attending a peace meeting with other religious leaders in front of the St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, central Italy, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. At the moment Cardinal Albino Luciani learned his colleagues had elected him pope, he responded, "May God forgive you for what you've done.'' The remark, by the man who became Pope John Paul I, was seen as an expression of humility, but also a commentary on the mammoth task ahead. There is no job like that of the pope. He is the CEO of a global enterprise, head of state, a moral voice in the world and, in the eyes of Roman Catholics, Christ's representative on earth. The man who emerges as pontiff from the conclave starting Tuesday has a crushing to-do list as he leads the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, files)
White smoke billows from the chimney on the Sistine Chapel indicating that a new pope has been elected (AP)
The new pope waves to the crowds from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican (AP)
People walk past a sand sculpture of the new pope at the Golden Sea beach on the Bay of Bengal coast in Puri, Orissa state, India (AP)
Pope Francis blesses the crowd from the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican (AP)
VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 12: Nuns walk through St Peter's Square on March 12, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. Pope Benedict XVIÄôs successor is being chosen by the College of Cardinals in Conclave in the Sistine Chapel. The 115 cardinal-electors, meeting in strict secrecy, will need to reach a two-thirds-plus-one vote majority to elect the 266th Pontiff. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Of all the contenders to replace Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was little mentioned.

The 76-year-old reportedly received the second most votes after Joseph Ratzinger, the last Pope, in the 2005 papal election.

And as a representative of South America's Catholics – who make up an estimated 40% of the 1.2 billion-strong Church, he was widely supported.

He became Pope Francis after a surprisingly quick conclave, winning 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115 cardinals' votes, on the fifth ballot.

His decision to pick the name Francis evokes key Christian tenets such as simplicity and humility. They are fitting for a man who is known for catching the bus and eschewing luxuries.

Classed by some as a moderniser of a strict South American Church, he is still conservative and an opponent of such ideas as gay marriage.

But the former cardinal and now Bishop of Rome is still seen as an open-minded moderate.

His family are from Turin, his father was an immigrant railway worker and he studied theology in Germany.

He is known for looking after himself; cooking his own meals and living a frugal existence, preferring a simple downtown Buenos Aires apartment.

The holy man has four brothers and sisters.

In 1958 he entered the Society of Jesus and began studying for the priesthood.

From 1973 to 1979 he served as the Jesuit provincial in Argentina. In 1980 he became the rector of the seminary he graduated from and he was named auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992.

Pope John Paul II made Bergoglio a cardinal in 2001.

Pope Francis is widely described as a champion of the poor and unfortunate.

He displayed deep compassion for HIV and Aids sufferers in 2001, visiting a hospice to kiss and wash the feet of 12 patients.

He won the papacy for reasons such as his evangelical success, the belief he will unite the First and developing worlds, and he is liked by the Church's conservatives and modernisers alike.

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