Pope Francis Known for Humble Style
As archbishop in Buenos Aires, he avoided the trappings of his position
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2013 3:17 PM CDT
In this picture taken in 1973 and released by journalist Sergio Rubin, then priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio is seen.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Sergio Rubin, ho)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – The world is getting to know Jorge Bergoglio, to be known as Pope Francis from this day forward. The 76-year-old Jesuit is the son of Italian immigrants who has spent nearly his entire life in Argentina. He is known as conservative on most church issues—staunchly opposing gay marriage, for example. But the most common element emerging in profiles (aside from the fact that he has one lung) is his humility. Samples:

  • He is "a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed," reports AP. He "often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina's capital. He considers social outreach, rather than doctrinal battles, to be the essential business of the church."

  • He "is the choice of humility, a Jesuit intellectual who travels by bus and has a practical approach to poverty," reports the Guardian. "When he was appointed a cardinal, Bergoglio persuaded hundreds of Argentinians not to fly to Rome to celebrate with him but instead to give the money they would have spent on plane tickets to the poor." The newspaper notes that while he opposes gay marriage, he is more lenient about contraception.
  • "Since 1998, he has been archbishop of Buenos Aires, where his style is low-key and close to the people," reports the Catholic News Service. "He rides the bus, visits the poor, lives in a simple apartment and cooks his own meals. To many in Buenos Aires, he is known simply as 'Father Jorge.'"
  • "In choosing him, the cardinals sent a powerful message that the future of the Church lies in the Global South, home to the bulk of the world’s Catholics," writes Rachel Donadio in the New York Times.
  • At Science 2.0, Hank Campbell likes that the new pontiff has a master's in chemistry. "As I have noted before, we have had back-to-back Popes with solid support for science. It isn’t going to satisfy every militant who thinks every form of biology should be embraced (yet don’t complain at all that the Obama administration bans somatic cell nuclear transfer) but the Catholics have the oldest science institute in the world, Galileo was one of its first presidents, and this carries on a long tradition of advancement of science among Catholics."