Pope Francis (born Jorge Mario Bergoglio) is the 266th and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as Bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City.
Let’s see some fun facts about him!
1. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born on 17 December 1936 in Flores, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires.
2. He was the eldest of five children of Mario José Bergoglio (1908–1959) and Regina María Sívori (1911–1981).
3. Mario Bergoglio was an Italian immigrant accountant born in Portacomaro (Province of Asti) in Italy’s Piedmont region.
4. Regina Sívori was a housewife born in Buenos Aires to a family of northern Italian (Piedmontese-Genoese) origin.
5. Mario José’s family left Italy in 1929, to escape the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini.
6. María Elena Bergoglio, the Pope’s only living sibling, confirmed that their emigration was not for economic reasons.
7. His other siblings were Alberto Horacio, Oscar Adrián and Marta Regina. Two great-nephews, Antonio and Joseph, died in a traffic collision.
8. In the sixth grade, Bergoglio attended Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles, a school of the Salesians of Don Bosco, in Ramos Mejía, Buenos Aires.
9. He attended the technical secondary school Escuela Técnica Industrial N° 27 Hipólito Yrigoyen, named after a past President of Argentina, and graduated with a chemical technician’s diploma.
10. He worked for a few years in that capacity in the foods section at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory where his boss was Esther Ballestrino. Before joining the Jesuits, Bergoglio worked as a bar bouncer and as a janitor sweeping floors, and he also ran tests in a chemical laboratory.
11. In the only known health crisis of his youth, at the age of 21 he suffered from life-threatening pneumonia and three cysts. He had part of a lung excised shortly afterwards.
12. Bergoglio has been a lifelong supporter of San Lorenzo de Almagro football club.
12. Bergoglio is also a fan of the films of Tita Merello, neorealism, and tango dancing, with an “intense fondness” for the traditional music of Argentina and Uruguay known as the milonga.
13. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979 was Argentina’s provincial superior of the Society of Jesus. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was created a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.
14. He led the Argentine Church during the December 2001 riots in Argentina, and the administrations of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner considered him a political rival. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March.
15. Throughout his public life, Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God’s mercy, concern for the poor, populist causes and commitment to interfaith dialogue.
16. He is credited with having a less formal approach to the papacy than his predecessors, for instance choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by his predecessors.
17. In addition, due to both his Jesuit and Ignatian aesthetic, he is known for favoring simpler vestments void of ornamentation, including refusing the traditional papal mozzetta cape upon his election, choosing silver instead of gold for his piscatory ring, and keeping the same pectoral cross he had as cardinal.
18. He maintains that the church should be more open and welcoming. He does not support unbridled capitalism, Marxism, or Marxist versions of liberation theology.
19. Francis maintains the traditional views of the church regarding abortion, euthanasia, contraception, homosexuality, ordination of women, and priestly celibacy.
20. He opposes consumerism, irresponsible development, and supports taking action on climate change, a focus of his papacy with the promulgation of Laudato si’. In international diplomacy, he helped to restore full diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
21. He is currently a citizen of three different countries; Argentina, Italy and Vatican.
22. Rather than bask in his new-found fame as leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis decided to live in a small guest house in the Vatican, rather than the traditional apartments in which previous leaders resided.
23. In 2013, the same year he was elected as Pope, he was named as Time’s ‘Person of the Year’. He was chosen for this title because of the influence that he had already had in the short space of time as leader.
24. Pope Francis has been given many extravagant gifts over the years, and one of them was a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. However, rather than keeping it for his own pleasure and adventures, he sold it off and used the money to benefit homeless people.