Pope Francis I
known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis I is an Argentinian cardinal. He has served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001.

Pope Francis I was one of five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife. After studying at the seminary in Villa Devoto, he entered the Jesuit order in March 1958. His election means he is the first Jesuit pope.

He was ordained to the priesthood on 13 December, 1969, and attended the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel, attaining the position of novice master and becoming professor of theology.

Pope John Paul II summoned Bergoglio to the consistory of 21 February, 2001 in Vatican City and elevated him to cardinal.

As cardinal, he became known for his 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 favour of public transport and reportedly cooks his own meals.

In 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against him, accusing him of conspiring with the Argentinian junta in 1976 to kidnap two Jesuit priests. He had asked the priests to leave the Society of Jesus of Argentina because of a conflict within the society over how it should respond to the new military dictatorship. Some priests had advocated a violent overthrow.

His spokesman flatly denied the allegations and no evidence was presented linking the cardinal to the kidnapping.

Bergoglio has reaffirmed Church teaching on homosexuality, though he has emphasised the importance of respecting individuals who are gay. He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine government to allow same-sex marriage.


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