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The Next Pope: A history of humility, service

3 years 6 months 2 weeks ago March 13, 2013 Mar 13, 2013 Wednesday, March 13 2013 March 13, 2013 1:33 PM in News
Source: Associated Press

VATICAN CITY - The new pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

The archbishop of Buenos Aires reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope.

Francis has been known for years as a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed. 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 has in the past accused fellow church leaders of hypocrisy and forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.

In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly.

Bergoglio is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.

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