Pope Francis embraces the spirit and values of St. Francis of Assisi

By Joycelyn Fish
Campus Life Editor

On Wednesday, March 13, 2013, Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was introduced to the world as Pope Francis.
At 7:05 p.m. Central European Time, white smoke billowed out of the Sistine Chapel’s chimney, followed shortly by the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica, signaling that a decision on Pope Benedict’s XVI successor had been made. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran stepped out onto the basilica’s balcony at 8:12 p.m. announcing “Habemus papam,” meaning “We have a pope.”
“Cardinal Bergoglio has had a growing reputation as a very spiri¬tual man with a talent for pastoral leadership serving in a region with the largest number of the world’s Catholics,” according to Jesuits.org.
Bergogilo, the 266th pope, chose the name Francis from St. Francis of Assisi who is best known for embracing poverty and humility. In addition, he has taken on the motto “Miserando atque eligendo” which literally translates to “by having mercy, by choosing him.”
Although originally trained as a chemist, Bergoglio was ordained as a priest in 1969. He has written books on religion and taught theol¬ogy, philosophy and psychology and became a bishop in 1992. He has been the archbishop of Buenos Aires since 1998 and has had a close connection to the people there.
Pope Francis’s election establishes a few firsts for his position. He is not only the first Jesuit pope, but also the first from outside of Europe in at least 1,000 years and the first ever from Latin America.
“His main challenge is to restore the reputation of the millennia-old institution and attract believers to a faith outstripped by Islam in terms of global numbers,” according to Bloomberg.com.
Students, faculty and staff at Vit¬erbo have taken particular interest in the new pope’s election because of the connection with the univer¬sity’s Franciscan values and the pope’s name. Although they may not know much about him yet, they want to learn more.
“From what I’ve heard, although still very conservative, Pope Francis is interested in more legal civil rights for all,” Chrisitan Siebert, a freshman theatre major from Mil¬waukee, Wis., explained.
“I look forward to get to know more about Pope Francis,” Michelle Schaub, a senior elementary educa¬tion major from La Crosse, Wis., said. “I am glad that he is encourag¬ing others to help the poor.”
Although no one knows what may come from Pope Francis as the years progress, everyone has their own ideas.
“I would hope that the pope would profess his want for com¬plete equality for all, whether its gender, race, age, or sexual orienta¬tion,” Siebert said.
“He is a role model for students and Catholics to live by,” Schaub added. “I hope that having Pope Francis will bring more Catholics closer to their faith and show the importance of helping others that are in need.”

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