Reflections - March 2013

© Copyright Peter Crawford 


Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio has greeted crowds in St Peter's Square in Rome after his election as the Catholic Church's new Pope, Francis.
Appearing on a balcony over the square, he asked the faithful to pray for him. Cheers erupted as he gave a blessing.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio; 17 December 1936) is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, elected on 13 March 2013.
In that role, he is both the leader of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State.
From 1998 until his election as pope, he served as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and was created Cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.
Francis speaks Spanish, Italian, Latin and German fluently.

Early Life

Jorge Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, one of the five children of Italian immigrants, railway worker Mario Jose Bergoglio and Regina Maria Sivori, a housewife.
As a teenager, Bergoglio had a lung removed as a result of an infection.
He received a master's degree in chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, and then studied at the seminary in Villa Devoto.
He entered the 'Society of Jesus' (The Jesuits) on 11 March 1958.
Bergoglio obtained a licentiate in philosophy from the Colegio Máximo San José in San Miguel, and then taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada in Santa Fe, and the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires.

Pre-Papal Career

He was ordained to the priesthood on 13 December 1969, by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano.
He attended the Facultades de Filosofía y Teología de San Miguel (Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel), a seminary in San Miguel, Buenos Aires.
Bergoglio attained the position of 'Master of Novices', there and became professor of theology.
Impressed with his leadership skills, the 'Society of Jesus' promoted Bergoglio, and he served as Provincial for Argentina from 1973 to 1979.
He was transferred in 1980 to become the Rector of the Seminary in San Miguel where he had studied.
He served in that capacity until 1986.
He completed his doctoral dissertation in Germany, and returned to his homeland to serve as confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
Bergoglio was named Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and was ordained on 27 June 1992 as Titular Bishop of Auca, with His Eminence, Antonio Cardinal Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, serving as principal consecrator.
Bergoglio succeeded Cardinal Quarracino as Archbishop of Buenos Aires on 28 February 1998, and was concurrently named Ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, who had lacked their own prelate.


At the consistory of 21 February 2001, Archbishop Bergoglio was created a Cardinal (Prince of the Church) by Pope John Paul II with the title of Cardinal-Priest of San Roberto Bellarmino.
As cardinal, Bergoglio was appointed to several administrative positions in the Roman Curia:
Member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Member of the Congregation for the Clergy.
Member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Member of the Pontifical Council for the Family
Member of the Commission for Latin America
As cardinal, Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice.
A simple lifestyle contributed to his reputation for humility.
He lived in a small apartment, rather than in the palatial bishop's residence.
He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation, and he reportedly cooked his own meals.
On the death of Pope John Paul II, Bergoglio was considered one of the papabile cardinals.
He participated as a cardinal elector in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI.
It has been reported that Bergoglio was in close contention with Ratzinger during the election, until he made an emotional plea that the cardinals should not vote for him.
Earlier, he had participated in the funeral of Pope John Paul II, and acted as a regent alongside the College of Cardinals, governing the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church during the 'interregnum sede vacante' period.
During the 2005 Synod of Bishops, he was elected a member of the Post-Synodal council.
It was reported that Bergoglio was a frontrunner in the 2005 Conclave.
An unauthorized diary of uncertain authenticity released in September 2005 confirmed that Bergoglio was the runner-up and main challenger of Cardinal Ratzinger at that conclave.
The purported diary of the anonymous cardinal claimed Bergoglio received 40 votes in the third ballot, but fell back to 26 at the fourth and decisive ballot.
On 8 November 2005, Bergoglio was elected President of the Argentine Episcopal Conference for a three-year term (2005–2008) by a large majority of the Argentine bishops, which according to reports confirms his local leadership and the international prestige earned by his alleged performance in the conclave.
He was reelected on November 11, 2008.

The Pontifical Coat of Arms of Francis I

Bergoglio was elected pope on 13 March 2013, the second day of the 2013 Papal conclave, taking the papal name Francis.
The pope is named after Francis of Assisi.
Bergoglio is the first Jesuit priest chosen to be pope.
He is also the first pope from the Americas, the New World, and the Southern Hemisphere.
He is the first non-European pope in over 1,200 years.
The last non-European pope, St. Gregory III, was born in Syria and reigned from 731 to 741.

Pope Francis with the Pallium on the Balcony of St Peter's Basillica - Rome

Francis I will probably pursue a conservative agenda, in matters of Liturgy, Church Dogman and public and sexual morality,
However he has a generally good record with regard to justice and human rights


Pope Francis 1 is the first Pope who is also a member of the 'Society of Jesus'
Societas Iesu - (the Society of Jesus - S.J., SJ or SI) is a Christian male religious order of the Roman Catholic Church.
The members are called Jesuits.
The society is engaged in evangelization and apostolic ministry in 112 nations on six continents.
The society's founding principles are contained in the document 'Formula of the Institute', written by Ignatius of Loyola.
Jesuits are known for their work in education (founding schools, colleges, universities and seminaries), intellectual research, and cultural pursuits, and for their missionary efforts.
Jesuits also give retreats, minister in hospitals and parishes and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue.

St Ignacio de Loyola
Ignacio de Loyola (Ignatius Loyola) (1491[1] – July 31, 1556) was a Spanish knight from a local noble family, hermit, priest since 1537, and theologian, who founded the 'Society of Jesus' (Jesuits) and was its first Superior General.
Ignatius emerged as a religious leader during the Counter-Reformation.
Loyola's devotion to the Catholic Church was characterized by absolute obedience to the Pope.
Ignatius founded the society after being wounded in battle and experiencing a religious conversion.
He composed the 'Spiritual Exercises' to help others follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
In 1534, Ignatius and six other young men, including St. Francis Xavier and Bl. Pierre Favre, gathered and professed vows of poverty, chastity, and later obedience, including a special vow of obedience to the Pope.
Rule 13 of Ignatius' 'Rules for Thinking with the Church' said: "That we may be altogether of the same mind and in conformity [...], if [the Church] shall have defined anything to be black which to our eyes appears to be white, we ought in like manner to pronounce it to be black."
Societas Iesu
Ignatius' plan of the order's organization was approved by Pope Paul III a 'Bull' containing the 'Formula of the Institute' 9  (Pope Paul III signed the Bull “Regimini Militantis Ecclesiae on 27 Sept., 1540.
The opening lines of this founding document would declare that the Society of Jesus was founded to "strive especially for the propagation and defense of the faith and progress of souls in Christian life and doctrine."
The Society participated in the Counter-Reformation.
While the Jesuit Order was infiltrated by Neo-Modernists and Pseudo Marxisrts (Liberation Theologians), since the papacy of Pope Benedict the Society has realigned itself to its traditional, academic and conservative doctrinal and liturgical positions - which are also compatible with the positions held by Pope Francis I.
The Society of Jesus is consecrated under the patronage of 'Madonna Della Strada', a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is led by a Superior General, currently Adolfo Nicolás.
Ignatius was beatified by Pope Paul V on July 27, 1609 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 12, 1622.
His feast day is celebrated annually on July 31, the day he died.
Saint Ignatius is venerated as the patron saint of Catholic soldiers, the Military Ordinariate of the Philippines, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Basque country and various towns and cities in his native region.

Church of the Gesù
Church of the Gesù
The Church of the Gesù  is the mother church of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic religious order also known as the Jesuits. Officially named Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesù all'Argentina.
(English: Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus at the "Argentina"), its facade is "the first truly baroque façade", introducing the baroque style into architecture.
The church served as model for innumerable Jesuit churches all over the world, especially in the Americas. The Church of the Gesù is located in the Piazza del Gesù in Rome.

Madonna Della Strada or Santa Maria Della Strada -  (Italian for Our Lady of the Way, or Our Lady of the Road) - is the name of a late 15th or 16th century image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, enshrined at the Church
of the 'Gesu' in Rome, mother-church of the Society of Jesus religious order of the Roman Catholic Church.

The headquarters of the society, its General Curia, is in Rome.
The historic curia of St Ignatius is now part of the Collegio del Gesù attached to the Church of the Gesù, the Jesuit Mother Church.


San Francesco d'Assisi
Jorge Bergoglio, after his election as Pope, made it known that he wished to be called Francis I.
This was in deference to San Francesco d'Assisi, and may well indicate the general spiritual direction of his papacy
St. Francis of Assisi baptized Giovanni, born Francesco di Pietro di Bernardone; 1181/1182 – October 3, 1226) was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher.
He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the Third Order of Saint Francis for men and women not able to live the lives of itinerant preachers followed by the early members of the Order of Friars Minor or the monastic lives of the Poor Clares.
Though he was never ordained to the Catholic priesthood, Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.
Basilica di San Francesco
Francis was the son of Pietro Bernardone dei Moriconi, a wealthy foreign cloth merchant in Assisi, and he lived the high-spirited life typical of a wealthy young man, even fighting as a soldier for Assisi.
While going off to war in 1204, Francis had a vision that directed him back to Assisi, where he lost his taste for his worldly life.
On a pilgrimage to Rome, he joined the poor in begging at St. Peter's Basilica.
The experience moved him to live in poverty.
Francis returned home, began preaching on the streets, and soon amassed a following.
His Order was authorized by Pope Innocent III in 1210.
On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX.
He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment, and is one of the two patron saints of Italy (with Catherine of Siena).
It is customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of October 4.
He is also known for his love of the Eucharist, his sorrow during the Stations of the Cross, and for the creation of the Christmas creche or Nativity Scene.
It has been argued that no one in history was as dedicated as Francis to imitate the life, and carry out the work of Christ, in Christ’s own way.

Assisi Tomba di San Francesco
This is important in understanding Francis' character and his affinity for the Eucharist and respect for the priests who carried out the sacrament.
He and his followers celebrated and even venerated poverty.
Poverty was so central to his character that in his last written work, the 'Testament', he said that absolute personal and corporate poverty was the essential lifestyle for the members of his order.
He believed that nature itself was the mirror of God.
He called all creatures his “brothers” and “sisters,”.
In his “Canticle of the Creatures” (“Praises of Creatures” or “Canticle of the Sun”), he mentioned the “Brother Sun” and “Sister Moon,” the wind and water, and “Sister Death.”
He referred to his chronic illnesses as his “sisters."
His deep sense of brotherhood under God embraced others, and declared that “he considered himself no friend of Christ if he did not cherish those for whom Christ died.”
On November 29, 1979, Pope John Paul II declared St. Francis to be the Patron of Ecology