20 Facts About Pope Francis

20 Facts About Pope Francis

Pope Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, lives in a small flat, takes the bus and only has one functioning lung.

20 Facts About Pope Francis

The new head of the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church is Pope Francis the first.

He was elected on Wednesday at the end of the conclave of 115 cardinals.

Below are 16 facts about the new pope:

1. His real name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio

2. He is 76-years-old

3. He is an Argentinean

4. He was born Dec. 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, one of five children born to an Italian railway worker and his wife

5. He is the first Jesuit to be named a pope. He entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained in 1969 during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel.

6. He is the first Latin American to become Pope

7. He was the runner-up during the last conclave that elected Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

8. He is a conservative known for his strong anti-gay stance. In 2010 he described homosexuality as a “destructive attack on God’s plan.” He was a fierce opponent of Argentina’s decision to legalise gay marriage in 2010, arguing children need to have the right to be raised and educated by a father and a mother.

9. Though conservative, he has criticised priests who refuse to baptize babies born to single mothers

11. He also believes condom can be permissible to prevent disease

12. He is well known for his austere outlook to life. He is famed for taking a bus to work every day in his native Argentina, giving up his driver and official limousine

13. His austere outlook towards life explains his choice of Francis as his papal name. Francis Assisi, who he is named after, is a popular Catholic saint who lived humbly and gave possession away to the poor

14. When he was made a cardinal, he persuaded hundreds of Argentineans not to fly to Rome to celebrate with him but instead to give the money they would have spent on plane tickets to the poor

15. In 2001, during a visit to a hospice, he washed and kissed the feet of 12 AIDS patients

16. He is respected for his intellectual prowess

17. He is an anti-corruption crusader. He has also accused Argentina’s government of not doing enough to eradicate poverty

18. He has lived for more than 20 years with one functioning lung. His other lung was removed because of infection.

19. In 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a complaint alleging Bergoglio was complicit in the 1976 kidnapping of two liberal Jesuit priests by Argentina’s military junta. He flatly denies the charge

20. Even though he has no Vatican experience, he becomes the 266th pontiff in the Roman Catholic Church's 2,000-year history

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