While it’s true you can find a number of red flags in Francis I’s resume (staunch opponent to gay marriage and contraception methods, friendly to the Videla dictatorship), there are also a number of elements that make me — a lapsed Catholic — feel hopeful.
Francis I is Argentinean Jorge Mario Bergoglio is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Just by being born in Latin America, Francis I has been more in touch with extreme poverty than any other pontiff in recent memory. Also, Argentineans are known for their bold, larger-than-life personalities (see Maradona, Messi), and the Catholic Church is in desperate need of strong leadership.
He is a Jesuit Not only is the Jesuit order known for their modesty and work with the poor — this group is also singularly pragmatic. This approach may signify changes in the way the Catholic Church deals with hot-button issues like the abuse of minors, AIDS and thinning Catholic ranks.
He picked Francis as his Pontiff name Bergoglio is the first ‘Francis’ ever, which signals a desire for a clean break. On top of that, the Argentinean wanted to honor the co-founder of the Jesuit order, St. Francis Xavier, a socially-minded missionary who ventured in areas untouched by Catholicism.
Seems healthy Benedict XVI looked sickly from the get-go and bailed out after a few years. Also, Francis I is more of a doer than an academic, as opposed to his predecessor.
His actual name is Jorge All Jorges are trustworthy, lovely people. By the way, it’s pronounced ‘Hor-he’, not ‘George’.