Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina has been elected Pope. The 76-year-old former
Archbishop of Buenos Aires will be known as Pope Francis I.
an informed choice by fellow cardinals, he is the first Pope from Latin
America, which is home to 40% of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics – to whom he
is now spiritual leader.
has a strong history of opposing LGBT equality in Argentina, describing it as
‘a destructive attack on God’s plan’ which puts at stake ‘the identity and
survival of the family’ and ‘the lives of many children’. In 2010 he voiced his
opposition to same-sex marriage and adoption, saying:
not be naïve, we’re not talking about a simple political battle; it is a
destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere
Bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and
deceive the children of God.’ In the Gospel of John, ‘the Father of Lies’ is a
term for the Devil.
clashed with Argentinian President Fernandez de Kirchner on this, who said his
words were reminiscent of ‘medieval times and the Inquisition’.
2001 he visited a hospital where he washed and kissed the feet of 12 Aids
patients, and voiced his deep concern over the world’s social inequalities. In
2005 he was accused of being involved in the kidnapping of two fellow Jesuits,
who were jailed by the militia for their work in poor neighborhoods, during
Argentina’s so-called ‘dirty war’.
Francis is the first Pope from
the Jesuit order, and has a reputation for living modestly – living in a small
apartment, cooking his own meals and taking the bus. He had one of his lungs
removed after an infection in his youth. Controversially, he is a firm believer
that the Falklands belong to Argentina.
Last night he sent his first
tweet, simply ‘HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM’.