(CNN) - Pope Francis is being painted as a humble and simple man, but his past is tinged with controversy surrounding topics as sensitive as gay marriage and political atrocities.
Questions linger about Francis' actions during the nation's dark days: the so-called Dirty War, when Argentina was ruled by dictators. The gay marriage issue came to the forefront during Francis' political fight with Argentina's president.
The conservative pontiff may hold firm on some issues, experts say, but he may be flexible on others.
"If you think that (Francis) isn't going to change anything, you're wrong," said Gustavo Girard, a retired doctor who knew Francis during his early years in the priesthood. "But is he going to approve of gay marriage tomorrow? No."
Vatican City (CNN) - The Vatican pushed back Friday against claims that Pope Francis failed to protect two fellow Jesuit priests who were kidnapped during Argentina's military dictatorship.
The accusations have resurfaced since the Argentine cardinal's unexpected election to the papacy two days ago.
A book by investigative reporter Horacio Verbitsky accuses Francis, who was then referred to as Jorge Mario Bergoglio and was head of the country's Jesuit order but not yet a bishop, of deliberately failing to protect two Jesuit priests who were imprisoned by the government.
But the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, dismissed the claims - which date back to Argentina's so-called Dirty War from 1976 to 1983 - as false and defamatory.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.