The next successor of Saint Peter to the papal throne is an Argentine cardinal, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, archbishop of Buenos Aires.
According to a profile by John Allen Jr. Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, Bergoglio was runner-up to Joseph Ratzinger in the papal conclave of 2005 that elected Pope Benedict XVI.
A man of simple personal tastes and habits, the new pope is seen by some as straddling the divide between liberals and conservatives and linking Europe with the developing world.
Though reportedly conservative on matters of sexuality, marriage and reproduction, Bergoglio is a staunch supporter of social justice and a defender of the poor and the victims of globalization. As he told a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007: “We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least. The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”
According to a Vatican news release, Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires in 1936 of Italian immigrant parents and ordained a Jesuit priest in 1969. He served as novice master in the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel, where he also taught theology and later served as rector. He completed a doctorate in Germany in the 1980s. In 1992 Bergoglio was appointed bishop of Auca and auxiliary of Buenos Aires, and in 1997 became coadjutor archbishop of Buenos Aires. Pope John Paul II proclaimed him a cardinal in 2001.