New Pope Francis Wins Support
Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, then 76, was elected pope on March 13, 2013, the first man from the Americas and the first Jesuit to head the Vatican.
In his first public address, the former literature and philosophy teacher quickly set the tone for his papacy, one of humility and accessibility. “Now I would like to impart the blessing, but first, first I ask a favor of you. Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you pray to the Lord that He blesses me,” he said.
From kissing a severely disfigured man in St. Peter’s Square, to challenging the church to be more compassionate, this new pope’s actions quickly endeared him to his flock.
By the end of the year, Time magazine named him its Person of the Year, saying he has “elevated the healing mission of the church— the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world— above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors.”