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Francis I Elected Pope, First Jesuit, First Latin American

Francis I

Francis I

Pope Francis I, previously Jorge Mario Bergoglio the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, has been named the new Pope. He is the 266th pontiff in the history of the Catholic Church. The announcement was made before tens of thousands of people who braved a cold rain to hear the announcement from St. Peter’s Basilica.

Pope Francis becomes the first pope to hail from outside of Europe. He is also the first Hispanic/Latino Pope.

His predecessor was Pope Benedict XVI who resigned recently.

The discussion on NBC is that Pope Francis is a man who likes to help out others, and he is relatively young at 76 years of age. He was also something of a dark horse going into the Conclave with many in the media speculating that it would be an Italian or possibly an American. Given that Latin America is one of the biggest bastions of Catholicism in the world, it is not necessarily surprising that he was chosen.

Francis I faced heavy criticism for not being able to prevent same-sex marriages from becoming legal in Argentina, and was criticized for claiming that same-sex marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples was discriminatory against children. Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez called his thinking harkened back to “medieval times and the Inquisition.”  Pope Francis I opposes LGBT rights calling same-sex marriage a “destructive attack on God’s plan” and opposes contraception and abortion.  During the debate over same-sex marriage, Francis I oversaw the squashing of any dissent from the Vatican line on marriage equality.

The biggest blight on his tenure as a Jesuit priest is that he refused to speak out and denounce the atrocities committed by the military dictatorship which dominated Argentina from 1976 to 1979 despite those crimes being brought to the Jesuit priests he oversaw.

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