Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became Pope on March 13, 2013 at the ripe age of 76. As the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, he was the first to take the name Francis. There is no refuting that Pope Francis is special. He is taking the Roman Catholic Church and bringing it into the 21st century, and by doing so he is connecting with a generation that had almost forgotten about religion.
Most of our generation’s Catholic youth had lost touch with the Church because of the old-school ideologies surrounding issues such as homosexuality, for example. However, Pope Francis is changing that; his firm beliefs of being a child of God and that each of us hold a unique spot in the world are just some of the reasons why he is so loved.
It is hard to deny how unique and amazing Pope Francis is. His fresh look on Catholicism and the world in general is truly exemplary. With all the hype surrounding his American visit, we thought it would be fun to tell you some facts about the Pope you probably didn’t know! Pope Francis is by far the coolest Pope we have seen in our lifetime and the world is lucky to have him.
15 He is educated
It's no secret that Pope Francis is a highly intelligent man. However, not many people know just how educated he is. The Pope studied philosophy at the Catholic University of Buenos Aires. He also earned a masters degree in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires. It is interesting that the Pope has a degree in science because it allows him to understand different aspects and theories the world has to offer, which is only one of the reasons he is such an awesome Pope. He has educated himself outside of the education system as well, gaining knowledge from all walks of life.
14 He is a Citizen of the World
Okay, so he may not actually be a citizen of the world at large, but Pope Francis is really a legal citizen of three different countries. He is a citizen of Argentina where he was born and raised and lived most of his life. Due to legal traditions and Pope Francis’ Italian parentage he also qualified to become a citizen of Italy. Then of course, there's the Vatican. Since the Pope is leader of this sovereign entity, that makes him a citizen of three nations in total. That is something that is rare and that most people didn’t know!
13 He was once in love
Although it was innocent, Pope Francis was once in love and it ended up being the only woman he ever loved. At the young age of 12, Pope Francis fell head over heals for a young girl in his neighborhood. The Pope, who was a fool in love at the time apparently, stated that if he didn’t marry the young girl he was going to be a priest! I am sure she was not the only reason for him to pursue the priesthood; however, even then, he kept his word. We wonder where that woman is today and if she remembers being the apple of the Pope's eye.
12 He loves art
Pope Francis has always had an eye for art and has always been intrigued by certain pieces. His favorite painting was created by Marc Chagall entitled The White Crucifixion. The painting depicts Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross. In the painting, Jesus is wearing a prayer shawl, which is symbolic of his Jewish roots. This famous painting has been admired and interpreted by numerous people over time, however, for the Pope to admire your work is truly an honor. He has said that he can spend hours looking at this work of art, and each time feel something new.
11 He was a teacher
He was known to many of his students as the “best teacher ever.” In the 1960s Pope Francis taught psychology, literature, philosophy and theology at numerous high schools around Argentina. His wisdom and kindness has stuck with his students and he is still teaching until today, however now he is teaching the masses instead of small classrooms. Francis is a natural teacher, which is why he makes such an incredible Pope, and the lessons that he teaches on a daily basis are truly making the world a better place. His wisdom is powerful and he has a presence about him. When he speaks, you are compelled to listen.
10 He doesn’t live at the official Papal residence
In March 2013, after being elected Pope, Francis decided against living in the official papal residence, which is located in the Apostolic Palace. Instead, the Pope opted for a more humble home. He chose to live in the Vatican’s guesthouse where he receives visitors and holds meetings. Pope Francis is the first Pope since Pope Pius X to not reside in the papal apartments. This shows how down to earth he really is. He is even known for eating at the cafeteria in the Vatican alongside locals, separating the gap between him and those who follow his lessons.
9 He loves sports
Pope Francis is a big fan of sports. He has a lot of love for soccer and is a huge fan of San Lorenzo de Almagro Football club, which is a team from the neighborhood he grew up in. Pope Francis also used to play basketball as a teen. His father, who played basketball for San Lorenzo, taught Francis how to play and he was actually quite good. He has received many soccer and basketball jerseys from numerous teams due to his love of sports. The fact that he loves sports just makes him that much more approachable.
8 He is a man of firsts
Pope Francis is a man of numerous firsts. First, he is the original Pope Francis; no other Pope has ever had the name Francis. He is also the first Pope of Jesuit descent, the first Pope to be from the Southern Hemisphere and also the first Pope from the Americas. Pope Francis is also the first non-European Pope since Gregory III in 741, who was of Syrian descent. Pope Francis embraces the changes he has made in being the first for so many and believes that change and evolution of humanity are all good things.
7 He loves languages
There is no denying that Pope Francis is an intelligent man. However, what a lot of people don’t know about him is that he is unusually multilingual. The Pope speaks Spanish, Italian and Latin fluently and also understands French, English, German, Portuguese and Ukrainian. The passion he has for people all around the world is fascinating and his desire to understand and connect with people is truly admirable. He makes an effort to try and learn different languages not only for himself, but to be able to create relationships with people from different parts of the world.
6 He only has one functioning lung
Yep, that’s right, the Pontiff has only one functioning lung. When Pope Francis was a child he got a horrible infection in his lung. Since medicine was not as advanced as it is today, the Pope was forced to have a part of his right lung removed as a means of survival. The Pope is now 78 years old and appears to be in good health, which is why it is so surprising to know how sick he was as a child. This is something many find surprising about the Pope and learning this about him in a sense makes you feel even more connected to him.
5 He loves to dance
Like a true Argentinian man, Pope Francis is a big fan of dancing; tango in particular. He has always been passionate about tango and does not let his position is the church remove from that. The Pope is a passionate person and that shows through his love of tango. He loves to watch tango, dance tango and listen to tango music! It is even reported that for his 78th birthday thousands of tango dancers performed for him, honoring him at St. Peters Square, now that is a birthday party we would have loved to be at!
4 He loves to laugh
Before Pope Francis, when people thought of the Pope, they thought of someone who was always serious. However, Pope Francis has changed people’s perspectives on what it is to be a Pope. Although it is a serious job, it is nice to know that he is able to have a good laugh. Pope Francis has been photographed with a clown nose on, has been featured in numerous selfies and has even ordered pizzas to the Vatican. His sense of humor and down to earth demeanor is part of the reason he is so well received and loved by the world at large.
3 He was a Bouncer
Pope Francis is awesome, however he looks like the least intimidating person on the planet. Which is why it is so surprising to us that he used to work as a bouncer. Before becoming a Jesuit, Pope Francis worked as a bouncer at a bar in Buenos Aries in order to help pay for his studies. We could be wrong, but we are pretty sure he is the only Pope to be cool enough to work as a bouncer at a bar! This shows that in life, you can truly do what you want and be who you want!
2 He goes above and beyond
Being Pope is about many things, including kindness, and there is no one who shows more kindness to people than Pope Francis. In 2011, before becoming Pope, he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He decided to show love to patients who suffered from aids. Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of 12 patients while visiting a hospice in Argentina. His acceptance and love was truly depicted through his actions, touching numerous people in the process. This is not the only case where he has gone out of his way to show kindness to those around him. His warm heart and generous spirit are why he is a role model to so many.
1 He stands up for what he believes in
Pope Francis has come out strong in his beliefs against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. He stated that he would show zero tolerance to anyone in the Church who has committed such a crime against children. Pope Francis has also stood up for homosexuality stating “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” These words left the Catholic Church and the world in general in shock especially since months earlier Pope Benedict XVI claimed that gay marriage was a threat to “global peace.” Pope Francis is a good example of someone to look up to, and his acceptance and love for everyone is truly remarkable.