Thursday, 14 March 2013

Habemus Papam: Pope Francis

At 7.05pm on Wednesday 13th March 2013, the white smoke came out of the chimney (video) on the Sistine Chapel and the bells of St Peters began to ring, "Habemus Papam" (We have a Pope!).

French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced the newly elected Pope as Pope Francis on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica. Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th Pontiff and will lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

Cardinal Bergoglio had made few 'favourites' lists, and was a suprise for many. Here are a few key facts:
Born: 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires
Ordained Priest : 13 December 1969 as a Jesuit.
Ordained Bishop: 20 May 1992 as Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires.
Ordained Archbishop: 3 June 1997 as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Ordained Cardinal: 21 February 2001 by Bl. John Paul II.

He is the FIRST Francis, the FIRST American (North or South), the FIRST Jesuit and the FIRST non-European in over 1000 years!

So what is a Jesuit?
  • A member of the Society of Jesus, sometimes called colloquially "God's Marines”.
  • Founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola who had a military background and still today members must show a willingness to accept orders anywhere in the world and live in extreme conditions.
  • Jesuits are known for their work in education, academic research and for their missionary efforts.
Why Francis?

This may show us three things: 
  • his desire to be a force of unity in a divided Church (Franciscans were seen as ‘rivals to Jesuits)
  • his heart for the poor 
  • his intent to "repair God's house, which has fallen into ruin"... that is, to rebuild the church.

"Live Simply": His Life As Cardinal
  • He chose to live in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop's palace. 
  • He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favour of taking the bus to work.
  • He cooks his own meals.
  • He flies economy class to Rome.
  • He's known locally simply as "Fr Jorge.“
  • He told Argentinians not to travel to Rome to celebrate if he was appointed but to give their money to the poor instead.

Growing Up:
  • One of the five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife.
  • Taught literature, psychology and philosophy.
  • Trained as a chemist.
  • Had a tough life under the military Junta of Argentina.
  • Has lived for more than 50 years with one functioning lung. He had the other removed as a young man because of infection.
  • He speaks fluent Italian, as well as Spanish and German.
Life In the Church:
  • In 2001 he washed and kissed the feet of Aids patients in a hospice.
  • Was very close to being elected as Pope in 2005. He was only beaten by Cardinal Ratzinger who went on to be Pope Benedict XVI.
  • He has co-written a book, in Spanish, called Sobre el Cielo y la Tierra (On Heaven and Earth).
  • He has criticised priests who refuse to baptise babies born to single mothers.
  • He believes that condoms "can be permissible" to prevent infection.

  • The first prayer Pope Francis I lead in the Vatican was the Our Father. A sign of united Christians around the world.
  • A Prayer from the Missal:
O God, who in your providential design
willed that your Church be built
upon blessed Peter, whom you set over the other Apostles,
look with favour, we pray, on Francis our Pope
and grant that he, whom you have made Peter’s successor,
may be for your people a visible source and foundation
of unity in faith and of communion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.



Download the TalkingDonkeyRE from TES or from GoogleDrive

Archbishop Vincent Nichols' reaction:
Fr Paul Keane on Sky News:
Further Reading:
  • Lots more resources from the truly fantastic Dublin Archdiocese Education site - <here>
  • Pope Francis' first day as Pope - an inspiring read! - <here>
  • Prayer Resources - <here>
  • A Father Like Francis - A lovely refelection from LifeTeen - <here>
  • Inside Conclave - An account of what went on in the Sistine Chapel - <here>
  • Who are the Jesuits? - <here>
  • TES Article - <here>


  1. Good info and well presented, only comment he is not Francis 'I' [the first] until a second Francis succeeds him, Part from that spot on.

    1. Edited! Many thanks. Lots of news sources were using it... Glad it's now sorted.