Friday, 15 March 2013

New Pope

Religious leaders worldwide have have recently been welcoming the election of Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the new Pope. Cardinal Bergoglio, who will be known as Pope Francis, was elected pontiff on the fifth ballot on Wednesday in the papal conclave in Rome.

The 76-year old is the first pontiff to come from Latin America and his election follows the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI last month. Here are a few things you may not have known about the new Pope;

• He likes to travel by bus.

• He has lived for more than 50 years with one functioning lung. He had the other removed when he was young because of infection.

• He is the son of an Italian railway worker and a housewife.

• He trained as a chemist.

• He is the first non-European pope in the modern era.

• He claims that adoption by homosexuals is a form of discrimination against children but believes that condoms "can be permissible" to prevent infection.

• In 2001 he washed and kissed the feet of Aids patients in a hospice.

• He speaks fluent Italian, as well as Spanish and German.

• Until now he has been living in a small flat, eschewing a formal bishop's residence.

• He told Argentinians not to travel to Rome to celebrate if he was appointed but to give their money to the poor instead.

• He is believed to have been the runner-up in the last papal conclave in 2005.

• He has co-written a book, in Spanish, called Sobre el Cielo y la Tierra (On Heaven and Earth).

• Though conservative on church doctrine, he has criticised priests who refuse to baptise babies born to single mothers.