Can we call you Frank? 11 things you didn't know about the new Pope.

Pope Francis






Catholic heads are spinning – not in a ‘The Exorcist’ kind of way but in an ‘Oh my goodness that’s a lot to take in during Lent,’ kind of way.

First there was the shocking news that Pope Benedict wasn’t up to the rigours of poping any more and wanted to take up lawn bowls and bingo (writing metaphorically there – no one knows WHAT a retired pope does because there hasn’t been one since the middle ages).

Then there was the news this week that the new Pontiff is an ARGENTINIAN. Holy (white) smoke, Batman.

That’s one for the (good) books. There hasn’t been a pope born outside Europe LIKE, EVER as Taylor Swift would say.

There hasn’t been a pope born outside Europe for more than 1300 years, so this was a bit of a surprise. The short money was on an Italian, but it makes sense – South America is almost entirely Catholic so this was a popular decision by the Cardinals.

But who is Pope Francis? What does he stand for? The team at Mamamia have compiled some fun (and admittedly, not so fun  facts for you to throw into conversation over the weekend:

1. His name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, his parents were Italian immigrants and he’s 76 years old.

2. He speaks German, Italian and Spanish.

3. He has a name but no number. He’s the first Pope Francis, so no Roman numeral. Yet. After he dies (or RETIRES), if a there’s a another Pope Francis, they will be known as Popes Francis I and II respectively. No word yet on what he’ll be called around the papal apartments.

4. The new Pope was runner up in 2005 when Pope Benedict XVI was elected. It’s all very hush-hush and this rumour is based on the diary of an anonymous Cardinal. But the word was, that at one point it looked like a certain Cardinal MARTINI was a also in the running.  Shame he didn’t get up. I’d have loved a Martini at Mass.

5. The new Pope won’t be officiating at gay marriages. Despite Argentina being one of the first Latin American countries to legalise gay marriage, gays and lesbians received no support from Cardinal Bergoglio who said gay marriage is a, “Destructive attack on God’s Plan.” Just so we’re all clear.

6. He’s outraged by priests who refuse to baptize the children of single mothers. As a cardinal, he expressed his sympathy for  young woman who, after becoming pregnant, resists the temptation to have an abortion and gives birth to the child. Then she finds herself “on a pilgrimage, going from parish to parish, trying to find someone who would baptize her child. He said the priests who reject this women are, “hijacking the sacrament, using rigid rules to preserve their own status, and are likely to, drive God’s people away from salvation.”

7. Pope Francis a simple kinda guy. He made news today by stopping by his hotel to collect his luggage. To the relief of churchgoers, he has a reputation for brief sermons that relate to the way people live as opposed to the theology-laden musings of Benedict XVI. Francis has already shown he eschews the trappings of the church, using basic cars to get around and showing a preference to only wear elaborate vestments on high days and holy days. As a Cardinal, he spoke often about the need to take the church to the people and was known for his work in the slums of Buenos Aires.

8. He liked a little Latin dancing. In a book about his life entitled The Jesuit, Cardinal Bergoglio said that before he discovered his religious vocation, he enjoyed evenings dancing the tango with his girlfriend, who was part of a group he regularly cut the rug with. Ole.

9. Francis rejects the idea of gay adoption, believing, “it discriminates against children.”

10.  He only has one lung. The other was removed when he was a child. This would have counted against him in the election process as there was feeling the new pontiff needed to be young(ish) and strong.

11. The new pope doesn’t give interviews. So we may never know much more about him.