Five Unexpected Facts About Pope Francis

Mar 14, 2013 1:43pm

gty pope francis side nt 130313 wblog Five Unexpected Facts About Pope Francis

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, 76, was elected pope on Wednesday, taking the name Francis.  Here are five things you might not have known about the church’s newest leader:

1.  Despite an Argentine rumor that Bergoglio never smiled, the new pope revealed he has a sense of humor just after his election. At a dinner with the cardinal electors Wednesday night, he quipped during a toast: “May God forgive you for what you have done,” New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan told reporters.

2. The new pope, like most Argentines is an avid soccer fan. Francis is not only a  supporter, but is literally a card-carrying member of Buenos Aires’ San Lorenzo club.  Fittingly, the team was named for a priest who let children play in his church’s courtyard.  The club could use some divine help. It’s currently ranked 12th in the Argentine Primera Division.

3.  It’s not just soccer. The pope also likes to dance.  “I like the tango a lot, and when I was young I used to dance it,” he said in a 2010 biography about him “El Jesuita.” He gave up tangoing when he gave up girls and “discovered my religious vocation.”

4. Following an infection, Bergoglio had a lung removed as a teenager.  “He’s a little bit slowed by it,” his biographer Sergio Rubin has said, but observers say it has not much affected his ability to perform his duties.

5. The pope is a social conservative, who attacked Argentina’s decision to legalize gay marriage, calling it “a destructive attack on God’s plan.” But he also made a name for himself by being a surprising voice of social justice in Latin America. When some priests refused to baptize the children of unwed mothers, Bergoglio took them to task, calling them “hypocrites.”

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