Biography of Pope Francis
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 17, 1936, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, when he was named the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Bergoglio, the first pope from the Americas, reportedly took his papal title after St. Francis of Assisi of Italy. Prior to his election as pope, Bergoglio served as archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013, as cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church of Argentina from 2001 to 2013, and as president of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 2005 to 2011.
Following his high school graduation, he enrolled at the University of Buenos Aires, where he received a master's degree in chemistry before beginning training at the Jesuit seminary of Villa Devoto. In March 1958, he entered the Society of Jesus.
Bergoglio went on to attend the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel, where he earned a degree in philosophy, and later received a doctorate in theology in Freiburg, Germany.
Ordained as a priest in December 1969, Bergoglio began serving as Jesuit provincial of Argentina in 1973. He later returned to his alma mater, the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel, where he served as rector (1980-86) as well as a professor of theology.
In June 1992, Bergoglio was named titular bishop of Auca and auxiliary of Buenos Aires, and in February 1998, he became archbishop of Buenos Aires, succeeding Antonio Quarracino. Three years later, in February 2001, he was elevated to cardinal by Pope John Paul II. In 2005, he was named president of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina, serving in that position until 2011.
Early into his priesthood, Bergoglio earned a reputation as a doctrinal conservative. He strongly opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage in Argentina, calling it "a destructive attack on God's plan". He also publicly disputed efforts to promote free contraception and artificial insemination.
On March 13, 2013, at the age of 76, Jorge Bergoglio was named the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church—becoming the first citizen from the Americas, the first non-European and first Jesuit priest to be named pope, and adopting the name Pope Francis (he reportedly took the title after St. Francis of Assisi of Italy, a Catholic preacher during the 12th and 13th centuries).