Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected Pope on 13 March 2013, taking the name Francis. His papal inauguration Mass took place on 19 March, the Solemnity of St Joseph, in St Peter’s Square.
Pope Francis is the first Jesuit to become Pope, the first to take the name Francis, and the first Pope from Latin America and the Southern Hemisphere.
Pope Francis took as his motto “Miserando atque eligendo”. The words are from a homily of St Bede on St Matthew’s Gospel, and relate to Jesus choosing Matthew as one of the apostles. Jesus saw the tax collector, Matthew, sitting at a customs post and said to him, “Follow me.” St. Bede explained in his homily that Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but with merciful understanding. The motto means “lowly but chosen”; literally in Latin “by having mercy, by choosing him”. It was also the motto of Pope Francis when he was a bishop.
The Joy-filled Pope
A sign on Pope Francis’ door in Casa Santa Marta where he lives contains a very direct message from a pope who speaks often about joy:
“No whining – violators are subject to a syndrome of always feeling like a victim and the consequent reduction of your sense of humor and capacity to solve problems. The penalty is doubled if the violation takes place in the presence of children. To get the best out of yourself, concentrate on your potential and not on your limitations. Stop complaining and take steps to improve your life”.
Major papal documents of Pope Francis
Lumen Gentium – The Light of Faith (2013)
This encyclical was written by Pope Francis in collaboration with Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. It is about faith and follows Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals on charity (Deus Caritas Est) and hope (Spe Salvi). It was the first time in the Church’s history that an encyclical was written by two popes.
Evangelii Gaudium – The Joy of the Gospel (2013)
This Apostolic exhortation is about “the church’s primary mission of evangelization in the modern world” – the Church must understand itself as a “community of missionary disciples”, who are “permanently in a state of mission”. Evangelii gaudium touches on many of the themes of Francis’ papacy, including obligations Christians have to the poor and the duty to establish and maintain just economic, political, and legal orders.
Laudato Si’ – Praise Be to You (On the Care of our Common Home) (2015)
This is the second encyclical of Pope Francis and is subtitled “On Care for our Common Home”. In it, Pope Francis discusses consumerism and development, and their effects including poverty, environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action.”
Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love (2016)
This post-synodal Apostolic exhortation is concerned with the pastoral care of families, and a range of challenges faced by families. It includes a reflection on love in the daily reality of family life, and encourages clergy and lay people to accompany and care for families especially those in special need.
Gaudete et Exultate – Rejoice and Be Glad (2018)
This Apostolic exhortation focuses on the universal call to holiness, and seeks to “re-propose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time”. The document deals with the call to holiness; false forms of holiness; on the Beatitudes and holiness in the Gospel; on five signs of holiness in the modern world, and on discernment.
Christus Vivit – Christ is Alive (2019)
This is a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, written in response to the 15th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on young people, faith and vocational discernment, held in October 2018. It is addressed “to young people and to the entire people of God”, states that the church has to repair its reputation with young people or risk becoming a “museum” if it did not change. It identifies role models for young people, challenges facing them and where the Church has failed them, and how they might respond to the plan God has for each of them.
Social links to Vatican news
Vatican News – English News from the Vatican – News about the Church
- Celebrating 125 years of the roots of Rome’s San Gioacchino in Pration October 3, 2023 at 7:34 am
The pandemic had prevented the Roman parish of San Gioacchino in Prati, in the shadow of the Vatican, from a meaningful tradition, but this year, ahead of the Synod in the Vatican, the parish’s families and pastor, ‘Padre Pietro,’ join together to relaunch a special parish celebration full of faith and cheer. Read all
- Synod Retreat: Homily during Mass for the Memorial of the Guardian Angelson October 2, 2023 at 6:00 pm
On Monday evening, Bishop Anthony Randazzo of Broken Bay, Australia, celebrates Holy Mass for the Memorial of the Guardian Angels, and preaches the homily for synod members, fraternal delegates and special invitees currently on retreat prior to participating in the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which begins on 4 October. Read all
- Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman win Nobel Prize for COVID vaccineon October 2, 2023 at 3:25 pm
This year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to a pair of scientists who developed the technology that led to the mRNA COVID vaccines. Among them is a Hungarian woman who continued her research despite opposition. Read all
- Mexico: Ten die and many are injured in the collapse of a church roofon October 2, 2023 at 3:11 pm
Ten people including three children have died and sixty have been injured, after the roof of a church collapsed during Sunday mass in the North East of Mexico. The tragedy happened during a Baptism service. Read all
- Pope Francis responds to dubia submitted by five cardinalson October 2, 2023 at 2:36 pm
The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has published Pope Francis’ response to “dubia” (questions; literally “doubts”) presented by five Cardinals. The questions concerning the interpretation of Divine Revelation, the blessing of same-sex unions, synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church, the priestly ordination of women, and repentance as a necessary condition for sacramental absolution. Read all