Thursday, March 14, 2013

Argentinian Cardinal Becomes Pope Francis

A seagull, as if a symbol of the Holy Spirit, on top of the chimney that announces each papal voting. After the four black-smoke-votes, this gull was sitting on the chimney for quite some time as if signifying the good news that is about to come at the fifth voting.
The fifth vote in the evening of March 13 brought about the positive result of a pope just elected and the white smoke from the chimney is announcing it for the crowd gathered at St. Peter's Square below.

St. Peter's Square is packed with eagerly-waiting spectators from around the world.
Newly-elected Pope Francis appears at the papal balcony and waves at the waiting crowd.

Pope Francis watching the crowd below from the papal balcony.

A close-up of Pope Francis at the balcony above St. Peter's Square, Rome

 Photos courtesy: (From top: Photos 1, 4, 5 & 6 - CBC News, photos 2 & 3 - BBC)

Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, (76), Archbishop of Buenos Aires of Argentina, was elected the 266th pope yesterday to succeed Pope Benedict XVI who abdicated on February 28. He took the papal name of ‘Francis’ in honour of St. Francis of Assissi, known for his austere life and solidarity with the poor. 

He Is the First

With the election of Pope Francis, history has been created in the Catholic Church. The new pope is the first non-European in the last 1,000 years. He is the first pope from the Americas. He is also the first Jesuit ever to be a pope.

He Is a Humble but Vocal Person

 Those who know him say that Pope Francis was a humble and austere person emphasizing on the social justice. Instead of living in a palatial building, he as the archbishop and later as cardinal lived in an apartment, often used ordinary public bus as a means of transport, at times cooked his own meals, and visited local slums in impoverished areas of Buenos Aires.
The TIME magazine says: “He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be essential business of the church.” He is also said to have criticized his fellow church leaders “of hypocrisy and forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.”
The TIME also reports: “Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brother, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit,” Cardinal Bergoglio told Argentina’s priest last year.

Son of Italian Immigrants in Argentina

Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 17, 1936. He is one of five brothers and sisters whose parents were Italian immigrants. His father was a railroad worker and his mother tended the house and family. 

At the age of 21, he entered the Jesuit Order. Later, he taught literature, philosophy, theology and psychology. 

Since 1998, he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires and, since 2001, the cardinal.

It is worth mentioning that he has only one lung. Due to infection in his teen years, one of his lungs had to be removed. 

To know more of Pope Francis and his background, you may read “Pope Francis: The Life andCareer of the First South American Pontiff.”

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