Clearly he is the first Pontiff from the Americas, and the first to be named after St. Francis Assisi, but there are several other firsts.
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected yesterday as pope.
1. He is the first Jesuit pope. Better known as “The Society of Jesus”, Jesuit priests were formed by Ignatius Loyola in the 1500’s, and are known as “God’s Marines” for their willingness to go anywhere, under any conditions to further their evangelical goals. It is believed that there has never been a Jesuit pope until now because the Society tends to be secretive in nature, creating issues with other Catholic orders. (Search “Jesuit conspiracy theories” to see how crazy things got.)
2. He is the first pope to only have one lung. He had the other one removed when he was a teenager, because of an infection. And since he’s been fine since then, his health isn’t one of the overall concerns.
Other facts about Bergoglio:
It took the conclave 24 hours and five votes, and the pick was a bit of a surprise: He’s the first non-European pope in over 1,000 years, and the first EVER from the Americas.
The odds at various sportsbooks had him at around 33-to-one. And THAT’S a surprise in and of itself . . . since he was the runner-up in the LAST Papal race, in 2005.
At 76, he’s two years younger than POPE BENEDICT THE SIXTEENTH was when he took the reins in 2005, and 18 years OLDER than POPE JOHN PAUL THE SECOND when HE became pope in 1978.
He picked “Francis” after ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI. And a Vatican spokesman says they both, quote, “have a special place in their heart for the poor, the disenfranchised, for those living on the fringes and facing injustice.”
There are approximately 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, and 480 million of them are in Latin America. There have been 265 other popes throughout history.
If you’re wondering how anti-gay he is, the answer is . . . VERY. When Argentina legalized gay marriage three years ago, he called it, quote, “a scheme to destroy God’s plan.”
All 117 cardinals at the conclave were appointed by POPE JOHN PAUL THE SECOND or POPE BENEDICT THE SIXTEENTH, so there wasn’t really a shot at anything BUT a very socially conservative, Biblically strict, old school pope.
He IS considered to be a strong leader though, and the Church is counting on him to get them past all the scandals they’ve had in the past few decades.