“My people are poor and I am one of them.”
The 266th and the current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is known the world over for his great humility and approachability. Ordained as Pope at the age of 76 on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis is the first citizen from the Americas, the first non-European and first Jesuit priest to be named Pope. Before taking up the honorable appointment, he served as the Archbishop and Cardinal of Buenos Aires. He was originally christened Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Ever since his attainment of priesthood, Pope Francis has continuously and tirelessly worked for the well-being of the poor, which he claims to be his foremost concern.
Furthermore, he is committed to bridge the gap between people of various backgrounds, class, beliefs and faith through peaceful talks. Unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis has chosen an informal approach to office since the Papal elections. He has declined to most luxuries offered to a Pope and instead prefers to live a simple and humble lifestyle.
A few examples of the same include his decision to put up at the Vatican guesthouse rather than the papal residence, choosing a simple car rather than flashy pope mobiles, wearing the white Cossack instead of the red mozzetta and iron pectoral cross instead of the gold one on his first appearance as a pontiff. Pope Francis strongly supports and considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church.
While his radical thought on humbleness, practice of simplicity and austerity towards working out a robust defense of the poor has garnered positive accolades and acclaim, it is his staunch orthodox discerning against abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception that has drawn criticism from a select few.
Pope Francis wants you to know he is not a superhero. On the other hand, he is probably just the most popular pontiff ever. During his year as pope, the 77-year-old has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, claimed the title of Time Magazine’s 2013 Person of the Year, graced the cover of Rolling Stone and accumulated a combined Twitter following of over 12 million — and growing.
A man that is adulated in the public eye and media, Pope Francis is one of the most recognized figures in the world. He has close to 7 Million Twitter followers — and his name one of the most-searched on the Internet. Check out some things you may not know about the “People’s Pope”, who is the first non-European Pope and first Hispanic Pope.
He studied philosophy and is a trained chemist
Before he was pope or even Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis was known by his birth name Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on December 17, 1936. As a young man, the future pontiff studied chemistry, philosophy and theology, and later lectured in those subjects. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and upon his election to the papal throne chose his name after Saint Francis of Assisi.
He is a passionate supporter of San Lorenzo Football Club
One of the biggest soccer clubs in Argentina can proudly boast that they have God on their side — or at the very least the support of Pope Francis, who is a paying member of San Lorenzo de Almagro, a club named for a saint. The San Lorenzo club was quick to congratulate the former Argentine Cardinal in his first few days as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church last year, even sending a letter to their most holy fan. The team also miraculously won the Argentine soccer title last year.
He used to be a bouncer
Pope Francis shocked the world last December when he admitted that prior to joining the priesthood, he used to be a bouncer at a nightclub in Buenos Aires. According to the Catholic News Service, he also spent time sweeping floors and running tests in a chemical lab as a teen.
He Owned a Harley
There’s something just so delightful about the idea that the always-smiling pope could also be a bad-boy biker in his youth. While the pope did auction it off last month , it’s not known whether he actually took it for a ride since it was given to him by the bike’s maker last year. In fact, the pontiff is better known for flying economy class, riding through Buenos Aires on a bus and scooting through Rome’s narrow lane-ways in a modest Ford Focus. He even hopped in a minivan with the other cardinals after he was elected pope rather than take the special sedan organized for him.
He takes selfies!
Earlier this month, Pope Francis scolded the media for the public image of him as some sort of star or superhero as depicted in such images as the superman graffiti which cropped up around the Vatican early this year.”The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps well and has friends like everyone else; a normal person,” he said in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
He tangos — and once had a girlfriend
“I love tango and I used to dance when I was young,” Pope Francis said in a 2010 biography about him called “El Jesuita.” In the same book, it was revealed the pope also had a girlfriend whom he used to share this love of tango.”She was one of a group of friends I went dancing with. But then I discovered my religious vocation,” he told the book’s authors Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin.
He invited homeless men to his birthday party
While the pope recently debunked one rumor that he snuck out of the Vatican at night to feed the homeless, there is little doubt that he is passionate about relieving homelessness and poverty.
On the morning of his 77th birthday, the pope invited a group of homeless men and a dog to partake in mass and have breakfast with him at the Vatican. The three men all sleep on the streets outside the Holy See’s walls, reported the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. During the morning’s proceedings, one of the men reportedly said, “It’s worthwhile being a vagrant because you get to meet the pope.”