Catholic Church Picks First Pope From The Americas
About an hour after white smoke emerged from the Vatican, Jorge Mario Bergoglio — the 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires — was named the new pope. He has chosen the name Pope Francis I.
A Jesuit, Pope Francis speaks Spanish, Italian and German.
Though he is the first pope chosen from the Western Hemisphere, he is said to rsolutely uphold the Church’s conservative teachings on sexual morality.
“Bergoglio is seen as unwaveringly orthodox on matters of sexual morality, staunchly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception,” National Catholic Reporter‘s John L. Allen wrote in the days leading up to the conclave. “In 2010 he asserted that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children, earning a public rebuke from Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.”
Bergoglio’s teaching on social justice echoes the Gospels’ continued concern for the poor.
“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least,” Bergoglio said during a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007. “The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”
As many as 41 percent of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America, towards which many Vatican leaders are looking in hopes of growing the Church.
“We’ve lost more Catholics to Protestants in the last generation than we lost during the reformation in Europe,” Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest and editor of the Catholic magazine, America, recent told Fox News Latino.
Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that elected Benedict XVI — who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.
AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, file