266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church in March 2013, becoming Pope Francis. Bergoglio, the first pope from the America, took his papal title after St. Francis of Assisi of Italy. Prior to his election as pope, Bergoglio served as archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013, as cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church of Argentina from 2001 to 2013, and as president of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina from 2005 to 2011. Pope Francis made his first international visit in July 2013, traveling to Brazil. To date, his tenure has been characterized by humility and outspoken support of the world’s poor and marginalized people, and he has been involved actively in areas of political diplomacy and environmental advocacy.
Ordained as a priest in December 1969, Bergoglio began serving as Jesuit provincial of Argentina in 1973. He has said that initially, his mother did not support his decision to enter the priesthood, despite the fact that she was a devout Catholic. By the time he was ordained, however, she accepted his calling and asked for his blessing at the end of his ordination ceremony. He later returned to his alma mater, the Colegio of San José, where he served as rector (1980-86) as well as a professor of theology.
On May 20, 1992, Bergoglio was named titular bishop of Auca and auxiliary of Buenos Aires. He was ordained into that post a week later. In February 1998, he became archbishop of Buenos Aires, succeeding Antonio Quarracino. Three years later, in February 2001, he was elevated to cardinal by Pope John Paul II, named the cardinal-priest of Saint Robert Bellarmino. In 2005, Bergoglio was named president of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina, serving in that position until 2011.
After Pope John Paul II’s death in April 2005, Bergoglio reportedly received the second-most votes in the 2005 papal conclave. Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) was chosen as Pope John Paul’s successor.
On March 13, 2013, at the age of 76, Jorge Bergoglio was named the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church—becoming the first citizen from the America, the first non-European and first Jesuit priest to be named pope, and adopting the name Pope Francis.