John Paul I  was the first pope to use the numeral during his reign. Francis took charge of a church at a crossroads.
Yet he incensed some traditionalists by appearing on that occasion in a simple tunic rather than in the more-traditional papal garments. He also took the unprecedented step later in of appointing a council of eight cardinals to advise him on church policy. Francis soon became noted for making statements that similarly conveyed an openness to different perspectives on Catholic doctrine, particularly regarding social issues and sexual ethics.
Such statements were subsequently either toned down by the Vatican or seemingly contradicted by Francis himself. That remark encouraged speculation both within and outside the church that a major shift in Catholic teaching and practice on such matters as same-sex marriage and contraception would follow.
Pope Francis Fast Facts
During a visit by Dutch bishops in December , Francis prayed for victims of sexual abuse and urged the bishops to reach out to them and their families. In January the United Nations UN Commission on the Rights of the Child recommended that the Vatican adopt procedures for the mandatory reporting of suspected child abusers to law-enforcement authorities but was rebuffed later that year on jurisdictional grounds. Critics observed that the Vatican was slow to punish and defrock priests who were known pedophiles.
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Church tradition held that women could not participate in the ceremony because the Apostles were men. The document was also noteworthy for its endorsement of the rights of indigenous peoples. However, it polarized many Catholics, especially in the United States. He once again courted controversy by holding the first canonization mass in the U. He concluded his tour in Philadelphia, with an address before the World Meeting of Families and an open-air Spanish -language mass.
In it he urged priests and bishops to take a more welcoming, and less judgmental, attitude toward homosexuals, single parents, and the divorced who remarried but who had not obtained an annulment , indicating in the latter case that such Catholics might be permitted to receive Holy Communion through the guidance of a priest. In August Francis revised the catechism of the Catholic church to fully reject the death penalty. Formerly, capital punishment was permitted when it was seen as the only means of defending human lives against an unjust aggressor.
In February Francis became the first pope ever to visit the Arabian Peninsula , the birthplace of Islam , in a trip meant to promote religious fraternity and peace. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions.
Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Written By: Matt Stefon. Early life and career Bergoglio was the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina.
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Argentina's pope a modest man focused on the poor - Reuters
On March 13, , at pm Central European Time , white smoke was spotted rising from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel where the conclave was being held. It could only mean one thing -- a new pope had been chosen to lead the Catholic Church. Although many did not know the name of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Cardinal from Argentina, as he was not predicted to be the ne On March 13, , at pm Central European Time , white smoke was spotted rising from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel where the conclave was being held.
Although many did not know the name of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Cardinal from Argentina, as he was not predicted to be the new pope by any of the analysts or even administrators of the church, the world quickly began to praise him for his extremely humble attitude and straightforward manner. News headlines exploded with information about the first non-European and first Jesuit pope in the history of the church, and Latin Americans rejoiced at finally having significant representation in the church hierarchy.
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This biography will follow Bergoglio's ancestors as they travel by ship from Italy to Buenos Aires, explore Jorge's career as priest, bishop, and later cardinal, delve deep into his beliefs and opinions about the world and the state of the church, as well as attempt to predict how this man from humble beginnings will help shape the Catholic Church in the future. With each book, a lesser known or sometimes forgotten life is recapped.
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More Details Friend Reviews. He did not receive this honor, but he continued to devote his time to reaching out to Catholics around the world. During that summer, Pope Francis went on his first visit to Asia. He spent five days in South Korea in August.
Pope to the Poor: The Life and Times of Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio)
On his return trip from South Korea, Pope Francis discussed his own mortality with the press. He also suffered a personal loss around that same time after several members of his family were killed in a car accident in Argentina. That fall, Pope Francis showed himself to be progressive on several scientific issues. He told the members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that he supported the Big Bang theory and evolution.
According to The Independent newspaper, Pope Francis said that "The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it. Throughout late and into , Pope Francis continued his pattern of deep engagement with both political and environmental conflicts around the world. He spoke out against global abuses and the misuse of political and economic power, lamenting the disappearances and suspected murders of 43 students in Mexico; the dangers and losses of life caused by immigration; financial mismanagement within the church itself; and sexual abuse.
His decision to crack down on church corruption and excommunicate members of the Mafia were hailed by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, though they also caused him to receive death threats. The Pope tackled other political blockades too, bringing together Presidents Raul Castro , of Cuba, and President Barack Obama , of the United States, in a historic meeting that precipitated significant foreign policy changes.
Finally, his ambitious schedule of travel continued, with visits to Paraguay, Bolivia, and Ecuador, as have beatifications. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. He added: "The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father.
For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. On November 21, , as the Jubilee Year of Mercy ended, the Vatican announced that the Pope had extended the dispensation to all priests to absolve "the grave sin" of abortion. The policy was documented in an apostolic letter written by the Pope, which stated: ". I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion.
I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.
During a television interview in early December, Pope Francis suggested a small but meaningful change to "Our Father," commonly known as the "Lord's Prayer. After expressing support of breastfeeding in public during the annual Holy Mass on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord in , the Pope made similar comments during the ceremony. Normally greeted by adoring crowds, Pope Francis faced hostility ahead of his three-day trip to Chile in January , stemming from lingering anger over his appointment of a bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse by another priest.
At least five churches were attacked in the days leading up to his visit, with vandals leaving a threatening message directed at the Pope in one case. However, he subsequently angered sexual abuse victims by claiming he had yet to learn of any "proof" of an alleged cover-up by the bishop in question. The archbishop's investigation, which included interviews with dozens of witnesses and produced a 2,page report, had a powerful effect on Pope Francis.