NEWS » Explosion of joy welcomed Pope Francesco

Explosion of joy welcomed Pope Francesco

An explosion of joy has welcomed the new Pope “Francesco”.
More than 100 thousand people waited in St Peter’s square for the white smoke, announcing the election of the new Pope.

Even though a non European Pope had been highly predicted, the election of the Argentinean Jose Mario Bergoglio was a big surprise. He is
the first South American and the first Jesuit to become Pope.

As the main newspapers reported the U.S. President stressed in particular the importance of having the first Pope coming from South America. According to Barack Obama the choice shows the strength and vitality of a region increasingly important for the rest of the world.

Seventy-six year old, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the most voted after Ratzinger in the last conclave, Bergoglio was also president of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina for two consecutive terms, from 2005 to 2011. 

Jose Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires. His family has Italian origins (Piemonte) from his mother’s side.

The new Pope chose to call himself Francesco in honour of St. Francis of Assisi, the Saint of the poor. He is considered a reformer with a strong focus on concrete actions for the poor.

The attention for simplicity is already a strong characteristic in his Papacy, not only for the name he chose but also because Francesco I has already chosen to appear in a more simple way: he wore the metal cross instead of the golden one, he didn’t wear the stole at the midnight ceremony and he defined himself Bishop of Rome instead of Pope in his first public speech. Francesco also bowed in front of his followers and asked them to pray for his actions. His attitude towards his followers was also shown by his choice to pronounce common prayers, understandable and familiar to everyone, instead of noble orations in Latin. The media also reported that he has always used public transport instead of a personal car.

After the first reactions of surprise and pure joy, especially in Argentina, the media all over the world asked for reforms of the “curia” and of the Vatican bank.

According to the main newspapers, Bergoglio should adopt reforms to simplify structures, introduce new ways to make decisions in a collegial way and especially to clarify the finances for the criticism and lack of transparency in the management of the Vatican Bank.

Francesco is also a controversial Pope, even though he is considered a reformer he has been a strong opponent of the Argentine government's decision to legalise gay marriage in 2010 arguing that children have the right to have an education given by a father and a mother .

The most controversial time of his life has been considered the period of the Argentinean dictatorship. Bergoglio has been criticized at home for his silence during the dictatorship after the coup of '76. In the book “The silence”, about the Church's role in the Argentine dictatorship, written by the Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky, Pope Francis is accused of failing to protect two Jesuits working in the slums of Buenos Aires, which were later kidnapped.

Apart from this criticism, he himself has lived and worked among the poor, helping them in any way possible.

Francesco I seems to give the idea of a new beginning for the church, nearer to the people.

Giulia Lombardo

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