157 Facts About Pope Francis


Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome and sovereign of the Vatican City State.


Pope Francis was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979 was the Jesuit provincial superior in Argentina.


Pope Francis became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was created a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.


Pope Francis led the Argentine Church during the December 2001 riots in Argentina.


Pope Francis chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.


Pope Francis is credited with having a less formal approach to the papacy than his predecessors, for instance choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by previous popes.


Pope Francis maintains the views of the Church regarding the ordination of women as priests, but has initiated dialogue on the possibility of deaconesses and has made women full members of dicasteries in the Roman Curia.


Pope Francis maintains that the Church should be more open and welcoming for members of the LGBT community, and has called for the decriminalization of homosexuality worldwide.


Pope Francis is an outspoken critic of unbridled capitalism and free market economics, consumerism, and overdevelopment; he advocates taking action on climate change, a focus of his papacy.


Pope Francis was born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936 in Flores, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires.


Pope Francis was the eldest of five children of Mario Jose Bergoglio and Regina Maria Sivori.


Pope Francis's niece, Cristina Bergoglio, is a painter based in Madrid, Spain.


Pope Francis had part of a lung excised shortly afterwards.


Pope Francis passed by a church to go to confession, and was inspired by the priest.


Pope Francis taught literature and psychology at the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion, a high school in Santa Fe, from 1964 to 1965.


Pope Francis served as the master of novices for the province there and became a professor of theology.


Pope Francis was named provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina that July, for a six-year term which ended in 1979.


Pope Francis served at San Miguel for six years until 1986 when, at the discretion of Jesuit superior-general Peter Hans Kolvenbach, he was replaced by someone more in tune with the worldwide trend in the Society of Jesus toward emphasizing social justice, rather than his emphasis on popular religiosity and direct pastoral work.


Pope Francis spent several months at the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt, Germany, considering possible dissertation topics.


Pope Francis chose as his episcopal motto Miserando atque eligendo.


Pope Francis defended Podesta's wife from Vatican attacks on their marriage.


Pope Francis was reelected to another three-year term on 11 November 2008.


Pope Francis remained a member of that commission's permanent governing body, president of its committee for the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, and a member of its liturgy committee for the care of shrines.


Pope Francis was a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Commission for Latin America.


Pope Francis lived in a small apartment, rather than in the elegant bishop's residence in the suburb of Olivos.


Pope Francis took public transportation and cooked his own meals.


Pope Francis was known to be devoted to St Therese of Lisieux, and he enclosed a small picture of her in the letters he wrote, calling her "a great missionary saint".


Pope Francis participated as a cardinal elector in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.


Pope Francis sometimes made appearances at the annual gathering known as the Rimini Meeting held during the late summer months in Italy.


Pope Francis feared for the priests' safety and had tried to change their work prior to their arrest; however, contrary to reports, he never tried to throw them out of the Jesuit order.


Pope Francis's complaint did not specify how Bergoglio was involved; Bergoglio's spokesman flatly denied the allegations.


However, two days after the election of Pope Francis, Jalics issued a statement confirming the kidnapping and attributing the cause to a former lay colleague who became a guerrilla, was captured, then named Yorio and Jalics when interrogated.


Since Francis became pope, Gonzalo Mosca and Jose Caravias have related to journalists accounts of how Bergoglio helped them flee the Argentine dictatorship.


Pope Francis is the first from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.


Pope Francis is conversant in Latin, French, Portuguese, and English, and he understands the Piedmontese language and some Genoese.


Pope Francis chose not to live in the official papal residence in the Apostolic Palace, but to remain in the Vatican guest house, in a suite in which he can receive visitors and hold meetings.


Pope Francis is the first pope since Pope Pius X to live outside the papal apartments.


Pope Francis still appears at the window of the Apostolic Palace for the Sunday Angelus.


Pope Francis is altering the culture of the clergy, steering away from what he has named as "clericalism" and toward an ethic of service.


Pope Francis was elected on the fifth ballot of the conclave.


Pope Francis wore the same iron pectoral cross that he had worn as archbishop of Buenos Aires, rather than the gold one worn by his predecessors.


Pope Francis held his papal inauguration on 19 March 2013 in St Peter's Square in the Vatican.


Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the presence of various political and religious leaders from around the world.


At his first audience on 16 March 2013, Pope Francis told journalists that he had chosen the name in honor of Saint Pope Francis of Assisi, and had done so because he was especially concerned for the well-being of the poor.


Pope Francis explained that, as it was becoming clear during the conclave voting that he would be elected the new bishop of Rome, the Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes had embraced him and whispered, "Don't forget the poor", which had made Bergoglio think of the saint.


Pope Francis said that some cardinal electors had jokingly suggested to him that he should choose either "Adrian", since Adrian VI had been a reformer of the church, or "Clement" to settle the score with Clement XIV, who had suppressed the Jesuit order.


On 16 March 2013, Pope Francis asked all those in senior positions of the Roman Curia to provisionally continue in office.


In March 2013,21 British Catholic peers and members of Parliament from all parties asked Pope Francis to allow married men in Great Britain to be ordained as priests, keeping celibacy as the rule for bishops.


In March 2021, Pope Francis went to Iraq on a first-ever papal visit to the diminishing Christian communities of Mesopotamia fallen apart after years of conflict.


On 31 March 2013, Pope Francis used his first Easter homily to make a plea for peace throughout the world, specifically mentioning the Middle East, Africa, and North and South Korea.


Pope Francis spoke out against those who give in to "easy gain" in a world filled with greed, and made a plea for humanity to become a better guardian of creation by protecting the environment.


Pope Francis has overseen synods on the family, on youth, and on the church in the Amazon region.


Pope Francis continued to assert Catholic doctrine, in less dramatic tone than his recent predecessors, who maintained that the Catholic Church is not a democracy of popular opinion.


Pope Francis appointed a commission to advise him about reform of the Bank, and the finance consulting firm Promontory Financial Group was assigned to carry out a comprehensive investigation of all customer contacts of the bank on these facts.


In January 2014, Pope Francis replaced four of the five cardinal overseers of the Vatican Bank, who had been confirmed in their positions in the final days of Benedict XVI's papacy.


On 29 June 2013, Pope Francis published the encyclical Lumen fidei, which was largely the work of Benedict XVI but awaiting a final draft at his retirement.


On 24 November 2013, Francis published his first major letter as pope, the apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium, which he described as the programmatic of his papacy.


On 8 April 2016, Pope Francis published his second apostolic exhortation, Amoris laetitia, remarking on love within the family.


Pope Francis issued another titled Maiorem hac dilectionem which created a new path towards canonization for certain causes.


Pope Francis established two new Secretariats in the Roman Curia: the Secretariat for the Economy, and the Secretariat for Communications.


On 8 December 2017, Pope Francis signed a new apostolic constitution on ecclesiastical universities and faculties Veritatis gaudium, published 29 January 2018.


On 8 December 2020 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis published the apostolic letter Patris corde.


On 1 June 2021, Pope Francis published the apostolic constitution Pascite gregem Dei.


Pope Francis issued the motu proprio Traditionis custodes on 16 July 2021.


Pope Francis implied that Traditionis Custodes did not apply to all traditional Catholic communities, not just the FSSP.


Pope Francis continued in the tradition of the Second Vatican Council and of the papacies since the Council in promoting ecumenism with other Christian denominations, as well as encouraging dialogue with leaders of other religions; he has supported peace with those claiming no religious belief.


In January 2014, Pope Francis said that he would appoint fewer monsignors and only assign those honored to the lowest of the three surviving ranks of monsignor, chaplain of His Holiness.


Pope Francis presided over the first canonizations of his pontificate on 12 May 2013 in which he canonized the Martyrs of Otranto.


Pope Francis canonized his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II on 27 April 2014 and canonized six additional saints the following 23 November.


Pope Francis canonized Maria Elisabeth Hesselblad and Stanislaus Papczynski on 5 June 2016 and then canonized Teresa of Calcutta on 4 September; he canonized seven additional saints on 16 October.


Pope Francis later confirmed the equipollent canonization for Bartholomew of Braga in mid-2019.


On 13 October 2019, Pope Francis canonized five new saints, including Cardinal John Henry Newman.


Pope Francis confirmed his predecessor John Paul I to be Venerable on 8 November 2017.


On 21 February 2015, Pope Francis signed a decree naming Saint Gregory of Narek as the 36th Doctor of the Church; he formally conferred the title upon the saint at a ceremony held in Saint Peter's Basilica on 12 April 2015 with delegations from the Armenian Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church present.


On 20 January 2022, Pope Francis provided his approval to the suggestion to name Saint Irenaeus of Lyon as the 37th Doctor of the Church, formally conferring the title upon him, along with the supplementary title Doctor unitatis in a decree issued on 21 January.


At the first consistory of his papacy, held on 22 February 2014, Pope Francis created 19 new cardinals.


Benedict XVI attended the second consistory on 14 February 2015, at which Pope Francis elevated 20 new cardinals, with 15 under the age of eighty and five over the age of eighty.


Pope Francis presided over the third consistory of his papacy on 19 November 2016, elevating 17 new cardinals.


Pope Francis continued his previous practice of elevating cardinals from the peripheries with an emphasis again on Asia and Africa, such as Patrick D'Rozario from Bangladesh and Dieudonne Nzapalainga from the Central African Republic, while naming the first three American cardinals of his papacy and only one Curial appointment.


Pope Francis presided over his fifth consistory for the elevation of 14 new cardinals on 28 June 2018.


The consistory was noteworthy for the fact that Pope Francis named the papal almoner Konrad Krajewski as a cardinal, marking the consistory the first occasion where the almoner was made a cardinal.


Pope Francis himself later said that he wanted the office of almoner to receive the red hat going forward as it was an important arm of the Vatican.


On 1 September 2019, following his weekly Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis unexpectedly announced the appointment of 13 new cardinals.


Pope Francis created thirteen new cardinals on 28 November 2020; nine appointees were under the age of 80, therefore, could vote in a future papal conclave.


Pope Francis established the World Day of the Poor in his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera, issued on 20 November 2016 to celebrate the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.


Pope Francis encouraged priests to visit patients and health workers; urged the faithful not to forget the poor during the time of crisis; offered prayers for people with the virus in China; and invoked the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title Salus Populi Romani, as the Diocese of Rome observed a period of prayer and fasting in recognition of the victims.


On 20 March 2020, Pope Francis asked the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development to create a Vatican COVID-19 Commission to express the church's concern for the crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and propose responses to the potential socio-economic challenges deriving from it.


Pope Francis consecrated both Russia and Ukraine on 25 March 2022.


On 24 August 2022, Pope Francis described the killing of Darya Dugina as a case of innocents paying for the Russo-Ukrainian War.


In September 2022, Pope Francis pointed out that Ukraine has a lawful right to defend itself, and that dialogue with the aggressor is necessary even when it stinks and later said that Ukrainians were noble people who were victims of savageness, monstrosities and torture.


On 2 October 2022, Pope Francis directly addressed Putin and Zelenskyy, making an impassioned appeal to Putin to halt the "spiral of violence and death", saying that a nuclear escalation would bring "uncontrollable global consequences".


In November 2022, Pope Francis granted an interview to Christian magazine America.


Pope Francis has committed the Catholic Church to the worldwide abolition of the death penalty in any circumstance.


On 11 January 2021, Pope Francis allowed bishops to institute women to the ministries of acolyte and lector.


Pope Francis wrote that these ministries are fundamentally distinct from those reserved to ordained clergy.


In February 2021, Pope Francis announced back-to-back appointments of women to take positions that were only held by men in the past.


Pope Francis appointed France's member of the Xaviere Missionary Sisters, Nathalie Becquart as the first co-undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops.


Pope Francis stated he is determined to end corruption in the Catholic Church but is not very optimistic due to it being a human problem dating back centuries.


On 24 July 2022, Pope Francis began an apostolic journey to Canada, expressing his sorrow, indignation, and shame over the church's abuse of Canadian indigenous children in residential schools.


Pope Francis apologized for the church's role in "projects of cultural destruction" and forced assimilation which culminated in the abusive system of residential schools.


Pope Francis promised a serious investigation into the history of abuse.


In Evangelii gaudium Pope Francis revealed what would be the emphases of his pontificate: a missionary impulse among all Catholics, sharing the faith more actively, avoiding worldliness and more visibly living the gospel of God's mercy, and helping the poor and working for social justice.


From his first major letter Evangelii gaudium, Pope Francis called for "a missionary and pastoral conversion" whereby the laity would fully share in the missionary task of the church.


Pope Francis called for decentralization of governance away from Rome, and for a synodal manner of decision making in dialogue with the people.


Pope Francis strongly opposed clericalism and made women full members of the church's dicasteries in Rome.


Pope Francis endorsed the 2015 Slovak same-sex marriage referendum which would have banned same-sex marriage and same-sex adoptions in the country.


Pope Francis stated that he supports legally recognising same-sex civil unions in a statement from an interview published in October 2020; this passage was from an interview from 2019, but this passage had been cut from public releases at the time.


Pope Francis has never officially pronounced support for gay civil unions.


In January 2022, Pope Francis said during a weekly audience that parents of gay children should offer support to their children instead of condemning them.


Pope Francis supported the use of force to stop Islamic militants from attacking religious minorities in Iraq.


In January 2018, Pope Francis met with a group of Yazidi refugees in Europe and expressed his support for their right to freely profess their own faith without limitations.


In 2018, Pope Francis acknowledged he had made "grave errors" in judgment about Barros, apologized to the victims and launched a Vatican investigation that resulted in the resignation of Barros and two other Chilean bishops.


Pope Francis subsequently announced that dicastery prefects would be appointed for a single five-year term, and replaced Muller at the end of his term in 2017 with Luis Ladaria Ferrer.


Bishop Athanasius Schneider claims that Pope Francis clarified to him that he was referring to "the permissive will of God".


In July 2021, Pope Francis issued, motu proprio, the apostolic letter titled Traditionis custodes, which reversed the decision of his immediate predecessor Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum and imposed new restrictions on the use of the Traditional Latin Mass.


Pope Francis has regularly been accused by conservatives of having a "soft spot" for leftist populist movements.


Pope Francis has supported the Vatican-China agreement, intended to normalize the situation of China's Catholics, which was criticized by Cardinal Joseph Zen as a step towards the "annihilation" of the Catholic Church in China.


In September 2020, Pompeo urged Pope Francis to stand against China's human rights violations.


Since 2016, Pope Francis has been contrasted with US President Donald Trump, elected that year, with some conservative critics drawing comparisons between the two.


Pope Francis has sought peace in the crisis without picking a side.


Pope Francis compared the protests in Hong Kong to those seen in Chile and in France.


Pope Francis played a key role in the talks toward restoring full diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba.


When Pope Francis was archbishop of Buenos Aires, he authored a text entitled "Dialogues Between John Paul II and Fidel Castro".


In May 2015, Pope Francis met with Cuban leader Raul Castro.


In May 2015, Pope Francis welcomed Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican.


On 6 June 2015, Pope Francis visited Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Pope Francis urged peace during his time in the religiously diverse city, known as the "Jerusalem of Europe".


On 25 September 2015, Pope Francis addressed the United Nations in New York City.


In January 2017, Pope Francis demanded the resignation of Matthew Festing, the 79th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.


The Pope Francis's demand came as a response to Festing and Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke firing Baron Albrecht von Boeselager from his position in the Order of Malta.


On 24 May 2017, Pope Francis met with US President Donald Trump in Vatican City, where they discussed the contributions of Catholics to the United States and to the world.


Pope Francis visited Ireland in 2018, in what was the first papal tour of the country since John Paul II's historic trip in 1979.


In February 2019, Pope Francis visited Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on the invitation of Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.


Pope Francis made the plight of refugees and migrants "a core component of his pastoral work", and has defended their rights in dialogue both with Europe and with the United States.


Pope Francis went on to place a statue in St Peter's Square to bring attention to the Christian imperative involved in their situation.


In line with this policy, Pope Francis has criticised neo-nationalists and populists who reject the acceptance of refugees.


In March 2021, Pope Francis held a historic meeting with Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and visited the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham, Ur.


On 9 May 2021, Pope Francis called for peace between Israel and Palestinians and an end to clashes in Jerusalem during his Regina caeli address.


Pope Francis stated that the Vatican is in talks with the Taliban through Cardinal Pietro Parolin to discourage the Taliban on taking reprisal measures against civilians.


On 1 September 2021, Pope Francis publicly defended the dialogue with China on the appointment of new bishops.


Pope Francis stated that uneasy dialogue was better than no dialogue at all, and emphasized in improving strained ties with the Chinese government.


On 25 July 2022, at the Powwow ceremonial grounds on the Cree Nation reservation in Edmonton, Canada, the Pope Francis expressed "deep sorrow" at the Cemetery.


Pope Francis's 2015 trip to Cuba is a prime example.


American and British media were more likely during this trip to show Pope Francis interacting with regular Cubans compared to the official Cuban media, which showed Pope Francis interacting with elites most often.


In December 2016, Pope Francis again made Forbess list of "The World's Most Powerful People", ranking fifth.


In March 2013, a new song was dedicated to Pope Francis and released in Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, and Italian, titled Come Puoi.


On 19 March 2016, Francis became the first pope to create an Instagram account.


Pope Francis broke records after having gained over one million followers in under twelve hours of the account being up.


In 2019 Pope Francis held a conference on the World Day of Social Communications highlighting the pros and cons of social media and urging users to use it as a source that liberates rather than enslaves.


On 26 November 2020 Francis became the first pope to write an op-ed for The New York Times, addressing issues such as the coronavirus and the need for global solidarity.


Pope Francis addressed people to be in peace and leave weapons.


Pope Francis told people to "put down your arms and embrace mercy".


In March 2023, Pope Francis was hospitalized in Rome with a respiratory infection.


The Pope Francis returned to perform public mass at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday, for the first time since recovering from bronchitis.


Pope Francis emphasizes the female talent and the importance of the charism of women for church and society.


Pope Francis has written a variety of books, encyclicals, and other writings.


Pope Francis: A Man of His Word is a documentary film with Swiss-Italian-French-German co-production, co-written and directed by Wim Wenders.