The new Pope is a Jesuit (!), up until now the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, since 1998.
Aged 76, he is something of a surprise pick!
My original reaction was, well the Italian's didn't get it back. But in a way they kind of did, since the new Pope is actually a son of Italian migrants, hence his surname!
Still, I'm guessing his papal name is primarily in honour of St Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Society of Jesus and great missionary, rather than Assisi (though others seem to think otherwise). Certainly, as a bishop, Cardinal Bergoglio reputedly took the missionary imperative seriously in his diocese, running street missions and more.
As for the new Pope himself, according to the Wikipedia:
"Jorge Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife. After studying at the seminary in Villa Devoto, he entered the Society of Jesus on March 11, 1958. Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo San José in San Miguel, and then taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada in Santa Fe, and the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 13, 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. He attended the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel, a seminary in San Miguel. Bergoglio attained the position of novice master there and became professor of theology.
Impressed with his leadership skills, the Society of Jesus promoted Bergoglio and he served as provincial for Argentina from 1973 to 1979. He was transferred in 1980 to become the rector of the seminary in San Miguel where had had studied. He served in that capacity until 1986. He completed his doctoral dissertation in Germany and returned to his homeland to serve as confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
Bergoglio succeeded Cardinal Quarracino on February 28, 1998. He was concurrently named ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who lacked their own prelate. Pope John Paul II summoned the newly named archbishop to the consistory of February 21, 2001 in Vatican City and elevated Bergoglio with the papal honors of a cardinal. He was named to the Cardinal-Priest of Saint Robert Bellarmino.
As cardinal, Bergoglio was appointed to several administrative positions in the Roman Curia. He served on the Congregation of Clergy, Congregation of Divine Worship and Sacraments, Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Congregation of Societies of Apostolic Life. Bergoglio became a member of the Commission on Latin American and the Family Council.
As Cardinal, Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice. A simple lifestyle has contributed to his reputation for humility. He lives in a small apartment, rather than in the palatial bishop's residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation, and he reportedly cooks his own meals...."
Profiles and commentary**
I will keep updating this link as I find posts worth reading.
You can find more about him at these links:
- **Piorier article from 2005 in UK Catholic Herald;
- Vatican News bio;
- UK Catholic Herald profile;
- John Allen;
- AAP (touches on relationship between Church and regime in Argentina).
- Archbishop Hart, President of the Australian Bishops Conference;
- Rorate Caeli (about as negative a reaction as you can get!);
- Andrea Tornielli, Vatican Insider;
- Rocco Palma (Whispers in the Loggia);
- Damian Thompson (UK Telegraph).
Almighty and Everlasting God, have mercy on Your servant Pope Francis, our Supreme Pontiff, and direct him, according to Your loving kindness, in the way of eternal salvation, that with Your help he may ever desire that which is pleasing to You and accomplish it with all his strength. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord Jesus, shelter our Holy Father the Pope under the protection of Your Sacred Heart. Be his light, his strength and his consolation.