Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, has been named the next pope and has taken the name Francis I. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio is a member of the Jesuit order, the Society of Jesus, which is the largest order of Catholic priests worldwide.
This is the first time that a Jesuit has been selected as pope and also the first non-European pope since the 8th Century.
Although the Cardinal is older than expected, he has been known as one of the more conservative Catholics in South America, for instance speaking out against abortion, same-sex marriage and even same-sex adoption. However, he has been noted for his focus on poverty and the poor.
The selection of a pope from Argentina is important since about 40 percent of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America. The top two countries with the most Catholics are Brazil and Mexico.
The fact that many people in Latin America have been converting to Protestantism, Episcopalianism and becoming Charismatics, this might be a sign to them to revert back to the church and rebuild their relationships with the Catholic faith.
Jesuits have been known for their educational institutions all over the United States, like Fordham University, Gonzaga University, University of San Francisco, Boston College and Marquette to name a few. The fact that this pope is of the Jesuit order is shocking to many, especially because Jesuits take an oath in humility, not striving for high authoritative powers.
As opposed to many Jesuits who practice othropraxis over orthodoxy, Bergoglio has always been an advocate for orthodoxy in his practice. He is expected to bring much experience to the seat as pope along with his love for the poor, simplicity and poverty.
Bergoglio has been known to live in a modest apartment, cook for himself and take the bus instead of being driven around in a limousine.