Pope Francis – formerly Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio – at 76 years of age, is a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina. His parents – Mario, a railroad employee, and Regina Sívori, a housewife – were Italian immigrants. He is one of five children.
He graduated with a concentration in chemical engineering, but shortly thereafter, he entered the Seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958, he entered the Novitiate for the Society of Jesus. He was a Professor of Literature at various institutions while studying theology, and on 13 December 1969, he was ordained a priest.
He has served as the Provincial of Argentina for the Society of Jesus, in addition to serving as Rector of the Colegio Mácimo de San Miguel and head of the Faculties of Philosophy and Theology.
Pope Bl. John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992, and Coadjutor Archbishop in 1997. The following year, upon taking charge of the Archdiocese, he became the first Jesuit to serve as Primate of Argentina. He was elevated to the rank of Cardinal in 2001.
Within the governance of the Holy See, he has served as a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. He is also a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Latin American Commission.
During his ministry as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and Primate of Argentina, the Cardinal has often been the voice of the Church in his home country, speaking in defense of life and the family, social concerns, and – more recently – the New Evangelization and the implementation of directives for the Year of Faith.
He is known to be a very spiritual and humble man, much beloved in his country. He has encouraged Argentines to “not grow accustomed to poverty” and to “go out in the streets” in defense of the family. In September 2012, he disciplined priests who denied baptism to the children of single mothers, calling them “the hypocrites who have clericalized the Church; who have alienated the People of God from salvation.” He is regarded as a courageous and zealous pastor with a particular sensibility for the Jewish people and the Christians of the Middle East.
Official bio from the Vatican:
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite, was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires. He was ordained for the Jesuits on 13 December 1969 during his theological studies at the Theological Faculty of San Miguel.
He was novice master in San Miguel, where he also taught theology. He was Provincial for Argentina (1973-1979) and rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel (1980-1986). After completing his doctoral dissertation in Germany, he served as a confessor and spiritual director in Córdoba.
On 20 May 1992 he was appointed titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires, receiving episcopal consecration on 27 June. On 3 June 1997 was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires and succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino on 28 February 1998. He is also Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who lack an Ordinary of their own rite.
Adjunct Relator General of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2001.
He served as President of the Bishops' Conference of Argentina from 8 November 2005 until 8 November 2011.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by the Bl. John Paul II in the consistory of 21 February 2001, of the Title of S. Roberto Bellarmino (St. Robert Bellarmine).
Congregations: for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments; for the Clergy; for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life ; Pontifical Council for the Family; Pontifical Commission for Latin America.