Until March 13th, he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, in Argentina.
Now known officially as “Pope Francis,” he is the first Pope from Latin America, which is home to approximately 40% of the world’s Catholics.
Despite official lip service drily congratulating the Pope on his monumental new role, Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has a history of clashing with the former Cardinal of Buenos Aires over her leftist social policies which have trended toward fascism. Argentina became the first country in Latin America to recognize gay marriage, and Kirchner has promoted access to free contraceptives.
Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, released a statement via Twitter, which read in part, “It is our desire that your pastoral work be fruitful in this great responsibility toward advancing justice, equality, fraternity and peace for mankind.”
In response to his challenges on her socially liberal measures, she suggested that his beliefs represented a return to “medieval times and the Inquisition.” Eventually, Kirchner stopped attending his annual “Te Deum” address, which is a traditional dialogue between political and church leadership.
Pope Francis is known for his austere lifestyle, genuine humility, and is respected as an intellectual.