Pope Francis, a conservative man of contrasts
Pope Francis is no stanger to the poor.
Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist whose reputation for defending the poor and disadvantaged is legendary in Latin America. In addition to strong conservative values, he has also spoken in defense of single mothers and their children.
Pope Francis will need to adjust to Vatican living, which is more comfortable than he was used to when he lived alone in Buenos Aries.
Described by the Daily Mail as an "austere intellectual," Francis is the son of Italian immigrants who moved to Argentina before he was born. He was raised speaking both Italian and Spanish. He excelled in school, earning a degree in chemistry before becoming a priest.
A Jesuit to be precise.
The Jesuits are renown for being scholars of the Church and Francis looks to be no exception. He is an intellectual giant, yet he walks amongst the poor as a humble servant, mush like his 13th century namesake did.
In his former post, Francis spoke out against a number of issues which he perceived in Argentine society including abortion, homosexual equivalency, and euthanasia. In addition to his orthodoxy, he has long had a special vocation to serve the poor and is known for working in the slums of Buenos Aries. In those neighborhoods, he is known to the people simply as, "Father Jorge."
Francis has previously spoken out in defense of unwed mothers and in favor of the baptism of their children, even if born out of wedlock. He called priestly refusals to perform such rights "hypocritical."
He has also upheld the importance of pastoral care for survivors of divorce, as well as HIV and AIDS patients.
The humble cardinal has even taken a hard line against politicians who cave to immoral influences, and support positions that are incompatible with the faith, including abortion and homosexual equivalency. He has said such people should not be given communion.
"Father George" spent his tenure as cardinal living in a simple apartment, cooking his own meals, and using public transportation. This simple life is in stark contrast to the opulence and comfort of Vatican life. However it is through simple living that one can become closer to God, and it is hoped that Pope Francis brings a measure of reform and refreshment to a Church that need now more than in decades past, to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Pope Francis, poverty, poor, reform, lifestyle, Argentina, Buenos Aries
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