March 13th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

From public transport to the Popemobile: Bergoglio's journey to top of church

(CNN) - For the first time in the modern era, a non-European was elected Wednesday to lead the church as pope.

Stepping into that historic role is Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, who will be called Pope Francis. He is the first pontiff from South America.

With its approximately 480 million adherents, Latin America is home to an overwhelming plurality of the world's Catholics. By choosing him, the cardinals sent a strong message about where the future of the church may lie.

Francis, 76, served as the archbishop of Buenos Aires.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope • Pope Francis • Vatican

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. EX catholic

    Nothing more that another IDOLATER. IDOLATRY is NOT a Religion, IDOLATRY is a SIN a Very Grave and Serious SIN.

    March 17, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  2. Prior

    "It is the will of the Ori, that we should spread Origin to all those blessed by their creation."

    March 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  3. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill were not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well.

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    March 14, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 14, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      March 14, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Really?

      "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"

      That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!

      March 14, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • truth be told

      The "happy and healthy " of atheism includes the torture and mass murder of millions of innocent human beings. The true atheist can murder as a professional and return home after a hard days killing without remorse.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • .

      TBT is the belief blog liar and troll.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Science

      Still waiting on this question too Bethany/CHAD do you have ONE ? Do you have one TBT ?

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought


      Was bible arond back then ???

      March 14, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • truth be told

      In the beginning...

      March 14, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • .

      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited."

      -Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

      March 14, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  5. Honey Badger Dont Care

    I think that the Italians thought that his name is Berlusconi and voted for him by mistake.

    March 14, 2013 at 8:11 am |
  6. Colin

    Tammy has clearly demonstrated that she is a coward and a hypocrite. She still has not apologized to Sue after calling her a prostitute.

    Tammy, you are very typical of your mean and hypocritical Christian ilk.

    March 14, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  7. Jonathan

    Must read book, only .99 cents on kindle exposes the truth of Jesus from the Hebrew Scriptures. Trust me, it's worth the read.
    http://www.amazon .com/300-Times-examination-prophecies-ebook/dp/B00BDFMLAI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363233322&sr=8-1&keywords=300+prophecies+of+jesus

    March 13, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  8. errybody's problem

    God bless Pope Francis! God bless all Catholics!

    March 13, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • Akira

      Um, doesn't God bless all people?

      March 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  9. Reality

    Part of the flawed underbelly of Christianity that even a pope named Francis will not be able to cure:

    (only for the new members of this blog as current members know the flaws already):

    Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.

    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.


    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    March 13, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
    • Carol

      Applying logic – one would conclude that the followers of Jesus would not have stated that he was resurected, that he was in fact God and through belief in him was the new covenant and salvation; as stating these facts cost them their lives. Do you really think anyone would die such horrible deaths for nothing but a bunch of lies? And as for is Jesus can be in Heaven with a body – why is it that man tries to make God so small to understand. With God "All things" are possible, he is not limited by time and space as we are.

      March 13, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
    • Reality

      The "martyrdoms" of the apostles are mostly single attestations and therefore historically unreliable. Dying for bad theology and flawed history also is not unique as witnessed by today's crazy, Muslim, koranic-driven, suicide bombers.

      Then there is this:

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      And this:

      Also think about the logic (or lack thereof).

      “I believe the Bible is inspired.” “Why?” “Because it says so.” Would anyone let that logic pass if it came from the followers of any other book or person? “I believe x is inspired because x says so.” Fill in the blanks:

      x=Pat Robertson
      x=the ayatollah Sistani
      x=David Koersh
      x=the Koran”

      more “logic”?

      “I believe there is One God Jehovah because He is revealed in the infallible
      Bible. I believe the Bible is infallible because it is the Word of the One God Jehovah.”

      March 13, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • Carol

      Jesus did speak to Satan, cure the blind, deaf, raise the dead etc. He was crucified for curing a man born blind because he did so on the Sabbeth. Why would the prevailing authority of the established church at the time want to pursecute him and have him put to death, it they did not believe he performed the miracle?

      March 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • Carol

      Also your argument that; "The "martyrdoms" of the apostles are mostly single attestations and therefore historically unreliable. Dying for bad theology and flawed history also is not unique as witnessed by today's crazy, Muslim, koranic-driven, suicide bombers." doesn't hold water. The apostles were not acting on a belief system – they knew Jesus, were with him, witnessed the miracles and knew that they would be put to death for teaching the gospel but did it anyway.

      March 14, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Correctlycenter

      I believe Jesus and not your opinion. He is God, your not. Sorry, Christ is real. I will pray for you...

      March 14, 2013 at 2:45 am |
    • A Frayed Knot


      You don't seem to understand the meaning of:

      "The "martyrdoms" of the apostles are mostly single attestations and therefore historically unreliable."

      It means that the eventual fates (and even the identi'ties) of most of the 'apostles' are unknown or unverified - legends about them abound, however.

      March 14, 2013 at 2:59 am |
    • Reality

      A creed for modern times bases on modern studies:

      The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (references used are available upon request)

      March 14, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Reality

      Oops, make that "based on modern studies".

      March 14, 2013 at 7:57 am |
  10. Chick-a-dee

    God bless Pope Francis!


    March 13, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • ..

      You are a fraud. Asshole.

      March 14, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  11. $$$$$$

    If the catholic church knows anything, it is which side of the bread is buttered

    March 13, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  12. Colin

    Ever noticed that the number of people in a given Western country who are Catholics is roughly inversely proportional to the strength of that country's education system? Where a good education stops, gods, ghosts and golbins start.

    March 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Waca Waca

      So, what is your ten point suggestion for these countries whose GDP is below average? Do you even realize that not all economies are blessed with resources like those that are prosperous?

      March 13, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • Riley

      Glad to hear that Christianity reaches out to the poor where money doesn't, says a lot about the religion!

      March 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      I don't generally disagree with your posts, but I suspect you are quite wrong here. I don't think you have any correlatable data.

      If your premise is that countries like Mexico have a bad education system I'd look to causes beyond religiosity. The colonial hangover in Mexico is very long indeed.

      One of the real strengths of the Catholic Church is their contribution to education – at all levels.

      March 13, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • Mark Tucker

      hahaha and apparently t shirts http://shop.popefrancistees.com

      March 13, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Mark

      So, you do not like catholicism. Why not just say that rather than cloak it with nonsense?

      March 14, 2013 at 8:49 am |
  13. Dennis

    CNN, can we have less of the pope articles now already. He's just a man. In a dress.

    March 13, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      This 24×7 all Pope, all the time, channel will dry up in due course, but give it a couple of days.

      Then it will be back to the usual marriage equality, reproductive rights, evolution, and atheist baiting that goes on here most of the time.

      March 13, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Mark

      Why be jealous. Put on a dress and have your day too.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  14. SAAB

    if that Stan Laurel look alike in red hat holding señor Pope from behind?

    March 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
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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.