Francis (Latin: Franciscus; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church, elected on 13 March 2013. As such, he is both head of the Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State.
A native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, he was ordained as a priest in 1969. In 1998 he became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2001 a cardinal. Following the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on 28 February 2013, the conclave elected Bergoglio, who chose the papal name Franciscus in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere. Francis is the first pope born outside Europe in 1,282 years, since Syrian St. Gregory III. Francis speaks Spanish, Latin, Italian, German, French, and English.
Election to the papacy
Bergoglio was elected pope on 13 March 2013, the second day of the 2013 papal conclave, taking the papal name Francis. Francis was elected on the fifth ballot of the conclave. The Habemus Papam was delivered by Cardinal protodeacon Jean-Louis Tauran.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said that instead of accepting his cardinals' congratulations while seated on the Papal throne, Francis received them standing, reportedly an immediate sign of a changing approach to formalities at the Vatican. Similarly, during his first appearance as pontiff on the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica, the newly-elected Pope simply wore a white cassock; absent was the red, ermine-trimmed mozzetta used by the previous Pope Benedict XVI. Also absent was the gold pectoral cross usually worn by past Popes and other high-ranking Cardinals. Francis instead used the simpler one he wore as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires.
Choice of name
Vatican deputy spokesman Thomas Rosica said the same day that the new pontiff had chosen the name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, and had done so because the new pontiff was especially concerned for the well-being of the poor. Some initially thought that, as a Jesuit, he chose Francis in recognition of Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Society of Jesus. This is the the first time that a pope has been named "Francis" and the first time since Pope Lando's brief 913 reign that a serving pope held a name unused by a predecessor (though the dual name John Paul had not been used before Pope John Paul I adopted it in 1978, the names had separately been used previously).
Pope Francis, elected at the age of 76, is reported to be in good health due to his austere and healthy lifestyle. In 1969, shortly after becoming a priest, Bergoglio had life-threatening pneumonia and three cysts. According to an interview he had with his biographers, he was between life and death for three days and had the upper part of his right lung removed. Doctors say that his missing lung tissue does not have a significant impact on his health. The only concern would be decreased respiratory reserve if he had a respiratory infection.
An attack of sciatica in 2007 prevented him from attending a consistory and delayed his return to Argentina for several days.
Apostolic Blessing "Urbi et Orbi":
Brothers and sisters, good evening!
You know that it was the duty of the Conclave to give Rome a Bishop. It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one... but here we are... I thank you for your welcome. The diocesan community of Rome now has its Bishop. Thank you! And first of all, I would like to offer a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him.
And now, we take up this journey: Bishop and People. This journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches. A journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity. It is my hope for you that this journey of the Church, which we start today, and in which my Cardinal Vicar, here present, will assist me, will be fruitful for the evangelization of this most beautiful city.
And now I would like to give the blessing, but first - first I ask a favour of you: before the Bishop blesses his people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that he will bless me: the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop. Let us make, in silence, this prayer: your prayer over me.
Now I will give the Blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.
Brothers and sisters, I leave you now. Thank you for your welcome. Pray for me and until we meet again. We will see each other soon. Tomorrow I wish to go and pray to Our Lady, that she may watch over all of Rome. Good night and sleep well!