Cardinals pick new pope--Pope Francis the First
The first non-European Pope in 1200+ years.
The Catholic cardinals have elected a new pope on Wednesday after just two days of deliberations, selecting 76-year-old Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio on the fifth vote. He has taken the name of Francis and was not considered to be one of the front runners. He is the first Jesuit pope and the first non-European pope since the 8th century.
Bergoglio has affirmed church teaching on homosexuality, contraception and abortion and is considered to be among the most conservative in Latin America. In 2010, for instance, Bergoglio stated that same-sex adoption is a form of discrimination against children and has said that same-sex marriage is “a scheme to destroy God’s plan” and “a real and dire anthropological throwback.” He strongly opposed legislation introduced in 2010 by the Argentine Government to allow for marriage equality, writing a letter warning that it would “gravely harm the family.”
However, Bergoglio has focused on helping the poor throughout his career, noting, “The suffering of innocent and peaceful continues to slap us, the contempt for the rights of individuals and peoples are so far away, the rule of money with his demonic effects as drugs, corruption, trafficking people, including children, along with material and moral poverty are big problems.”
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It has been 1,272 years since a non-European pope led the Church, and is particularly appropriate today, as the number of Catholics have declined in Europe, but grown significantly throughout Latin America. It is now home to 41 percent of Catholics and is “perceived as a Catholic bedrock that needs support to counter the tremendous growth of Protestantism. ”