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Biography of Pope Francis
Pope Francis also known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in 1963 to Mario and Sivori (Bunderson par. 1). His parents were Italian immigrants. Before choosing the priestly profession, Pope Francis was a chemical technician (Chua-Eoan and Dias par. 5). He had some other training in philosophy and studies in humanities. He taught at various institutions in the mid 1960s and some of them included Immaculate Conception College where he taught psychology and literature (Bunderson par. 2).
Before becoming a Jesuit in 1973, he went to Spain where he continued with his studies. In Argentina, he held many other positions such as a theological professor at San Miguel and rector at Colegio Máximo. He functioned as a provincial head of Jesuits in Argentina for a period of six years from 1973 to 1979. Before going to Germany for doctoral studies in 1986, he functioned as the parish priest in San Miguel and the rector at San José College.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 (Bunderson par. 3). In 1998, he became the archbishop of Buenos Aires. Whilst Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he also held membership in a number of bodies associated with the Catholic Church in Argentina. Some of these bodies include the Pontifical Commission and the Consecrated Life Institute. In 2013, he was elected the Pope and took the name Francis.
History of Roman Catholic Church in Italy
After the death of Jesus, the bishops who were considered disciples spread out to different corners of the world to form a universally accepted church. The apostle Peter became the bishop of Rome (Fairchild par. 4). He became the leader of other Bishops. In fact, the Vatican City and more especially Saint Peter’s Basilica were built over Saint Peter’s grave. The successor of Peter is the Pope.
In Italy, Catholic Christianity started as a religious group of people who were persecuted for having entered in the Roman Empire unlawfully (Fairchild par. 5). It gained roots after Emperor Constantine converted. He legalized it and it became the Roman Empire’s official religion after some time. In general, it is hard to determine the exact time or date when the Roman Catholic Church started officially. The only known fact is that Christianity was first considered as a belief system in the first century, although its institutional structures as well as the entire religion developed as time went by.
Roman Catholics in Italy
About eighty percent of people in Italy are Roman Catholics. Italy has about 220 archdioceses and dioceses. This number is more than that available in any other country in the world. In addition, it has about 25,000 parishes (Fairchild par. 9).
Influence of Roman Catholics on Italy
Even though, nearly every aspect of the Roman Catholic Church is espoused by many Italians, it has a major influence in politics. The Italian politics has borrowed a lot from the guiding principles of the Roman Catholic Church (Fairchild par. 6). Nearly all policies that are formulated in Italy tend to reflect the teaching of this church. In schools, religious lessons not only reflect its teachings, but every child in Italy is brought up on principles of the Catholicism. In most cases, when Italian government passes laws that infringe or go against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, lawmakers usually act with speed to ensure that such issues are ironed out or block policies that are considered disagreeable.
There are a number of ways, in which Pope Francis has influenced the Roman Catholic Church in Italy. His popularity and messages have inspired more Italians to attend church services. The Catholic Church in Italy has reported an increase in mass attendance. Mainly this is attributed to the effect of Pope Francis. The Pope has promised to bring openness to the Roman Catholics in Vatican (Donohue par. 5). This is evidenced when he appointed a taskforce to work on modalities of simplifying and merging existing structures of management. This taskforce will also help in improving oversight and coordination.
His priorities may also influence the church for the better. For instance, one of the troubling issues in Vatican is the problem associated with the bureaucracy of the Vatican Bank. In order to contain this issue, the Pontiff has showed intentions to have old administrative structures in Vatican being restructured (Donohue par. 7).
This became apparent when he announced a body to oversee this process. The responsibilities of the agency are to ensure that all planning and budgetary aspects of the Vatican bank are transparent. This undertaking creates the trust of the people in the Church leadership as the secrecy surrounding the Vatican bank has been of great concern to all Catholics in Italy.
Pope Francis has managed to soften the image of the Roman Catholic Church, which was seen as conservative previously. In addition, it is shown that the Pope can easily ascribe to contemporary views on nonbelievers (Cornwell par. 4). For instance, people who do not profess their faith in Christ should be guided by their conscience. On homosexuality, the Pope holds the view that they are free to seek God without condemnation (Donohue par. 7).
His appointments are different from those made by his predecessors. For instance, he appointed a liberal Cardinal to address cardinals on matters to do with the family (Cornwell par. 2). One thing about this liberal Cardinal is that he supports most of Pope’s steps to modernize the church. Just like Pope Francis, he does not support the idea of banning homosexuals from the church. In addition, he has told priests not to condemn those people in failed marriages (Kellner par. 9). These ideas had not been communicated in Italy previously.
The Pope has started changing the Roman Catholic Church right from the place where he lives in Vatican to the way he dresses and the car he drives (Stoltz par. 4). This is a complete paradigm shift. Unlike his predecessors, the Pope lives in a room where he can easily intermingle with other Christians. The Pope drives a simple car, which shows his simple and selfless life.
Pope Francis comes from Argentina and is the first non-European pope. Before his election to papacy, he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires in Argentine. Upon becoming the Pope, he embarked on a mission to redeem the image of the Catholic Church, which seems to have been fading. His teachings, in most cases, are liberal. This does not mean that he is likely to change the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, but what it means is that even those who are considered by the community to have committed mistakes should not be barred from seeking God.
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Bunderson, Carl. Biography: the life of Pope Francis. 2013. Web.
Chua-Eoan, Howard and Elizabeth Dias. Person of the year. 2013. Web.
Cornwell, John. Pope Francis’s papacy one year on. 2014. Web.
Donohue, Bill. Pope Francis Reaffirms Church Teachings. 2013. Web.
Fairchild, Mary. Roman Catholic Church History. 2010. Web.
Kellner, Mark. One year on job, Pope Francis remains popular pontiff. 2014. Web.
Stoltz, Eric. How Has Pope Francis Differed From Previous Popes? 2014. Web.