Pope Francis I’s name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He was born on 17th December, 1936 in Buenos Aires. He is of Italian origin but belongs to Argentina. His election as the 266th Pope has meant Francis I will be the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1300 years.
Francis I is fluent in Spanish, Italian and German. He is believed to be surviving on only one lung, as the second one removed when he was a teenager due to an infection.
One of five children of an immigrant railway worker, Bergoglio has a Masters degree in chemistry. However, he chose the ecclesiastical path and became a priest of the Jesuit order, which was founded in the 16th century to serve the Pope. He became a Cardinal in February, 1998 and since then has been handled several responsibilities in the Roman Curia.
Pope Francis I is a reserved and humble man who leads an austere life. He lives is a small apartment and cooks his own meals though he is entitled to luxurious accommodation and a chef as the Cardinal of Buenos Aires. He also uses public transportation like local buses instead of a chauffeured limousine.
Francis I had a good chance of becoming the Pope in 2005, but due to the close contest with Benedict XVI, he is known to have made an emotional appeal to the Cardinals not to vote in his favour.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been accused of not opposing the dictatorial regime of Argentina and also sheltering political prisoners in his holiday home when a Human Rights Commission delegation came visiting.
The new Pope’s name is also linked with an episode involving kidnapping of two priests. There are allegations that he may have renounced them by way of not accepting links with them in front of the government. However, Bergoglio told his biographer that he had worked quietly through diplomatic channels for the release of the two abducted priests.
Francis has been vocal about his opposition to gay marriages and is against same-sex couples adopting children. He is also known to hold a conservative Catholic position as far as abortion is concerned.
The new Pope has written several books on spirituality and meditation.