June 20, 2013
Bergoglio, the first pontiff from Latin America
The first pope to be elected from the Americas and outside Europe in more than a milllenium, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has become the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
The 76-year old pontiff, who has chosen to be called Pope Francis I, was born in Buenos Aires on December 17th 1936 and decided to become a priest in 1957 entering the Jesuit order as novice.
On December 13th 1969 he was ordained a priest and was appointed Buenos Aires City Archbishop on February 28th 1998.
Two times president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference, Bergoglio is a member of the Latin American Episcopal Council.
A low-profile, austere Jesuit –media in the Vatican reported that he was the only Cardinal to walk through the Plaza San Pedro to attend the Conclave meeting rather than using official transportation-, Bergoglio resisted the gay marriage law, promoted by the administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and passed by Congress in 2010.
One of the most sensitive issues surrounding the new pope’s background is the role played by Argentina’s Roman Catholic Church during the country’s 1976-1983 civil-military dictatorship that certain ruling Victory Front officials have accused of “complicity”.