Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, was elected to the papacy on March 13 after being chosen by the conclave of cardinal electors assembled in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. The former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is 76 years old and is the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. He is the first Pope to come from the Jesuit order, the first to take the name Francis and the first Latin American in the history of the Church. The white smoke that announced to the world his election came at the fifth ballot, on the second day of the Conclave.
Pope Francis I: Background
"It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one... " said the newly elected Pope Francis when he greeted the tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St Peter's Square.
After greeting the assembly, Pope Francis called for prayers for his predecessor, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who resigned in February and is currently retired at Castel Gandolfo papal retreat outside of Rome. The Pope asked the assembly to pray for him, bowing as a hush enveloped the historic square. He also led the assembly in prayer, reciting the Our Father, Hail Mary and Gloria. Then Pope Francis said: "And now, we take up this journey: Bishop and people. This journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches. A journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us."
Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936. He studied and graduated as a chemical engineer, but then chose priesthood. He suffered a life-threatening pulmonary infection that necessitated the removal of one lung.
On March 11, 1958, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, and studied humanities in Chile and in 1963, returned to Buenos Aires, where he obtained a degree in philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy of the College San Jose, in San Miguel. On May 20, 1992, John Paul II appointed him Titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires. On June 3, 1997 he was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires, on February 28, 1998 he was appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires following the death of Cardinal Quarracino. He also served as bishop of Catholics of the various Eastern rites in Argentina. As Archbishop, he was often associated with Communion and Liberation, a lay movement based in Italy that has many activists in Latin America.
From November 2005 to November 2011, Archbishop Bergoglio was President of the Episcopal Conference of Argentina. He was proclaimed a Cardinal in the consistory of February 21, 2001 by Blessed Pope John Paul II, of the Title of St. Robert Bellarmine. He is a member of the Congregations for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Clergy; for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life; of the Pontifical Council for the Family; of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
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