Hello Pope Francis

UPDATED: Social justice activist Sister Simone Campbell gives the pontiff a Twitter shout out

Published March 13, 2013 7:20PM (EDT)

  (AP/Gregorio Borgia)
(AP/Gregorio Borgia)

Updated: March 13, 5:03 p.m.

The new pope gets a shout out (and an apparent nod of approval) from social justice activist Sister Simone Campbell. We already know that Pope Francis is cool with buses, but is he down with progressive Catholic nuns speaking out on behalf of women's rights and comprehensive health care? Fingers crossed.

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Updated: March 13, 4:56 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden to head to the Vatican, the Associated Press reports.

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Updated: March 13, 4:47 p.m.

As reported by the Associated Press:

Obama says the pope serves as a champion of the poor and vulnerable and represents the love and compassion that has inspired the world throughout the Catholic Church's history.

He says he looks forward to working with the pope to promote peace, security and dignity for people of all faiths.

Updated: March 13, 4:35 p.m.

What's in a name, anyway? CNN's Vatican analyst John Allen calls Pope Francis' choice "stunning" and "precedent shattering":

"There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism" such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis seem "irrepeatable -- that there can be only one Francis," he added.

The name symbolizes "poverty, humility, simplicity and rebuilding the Catholic Church," Allen said.

"The new pope is sending a signal that this will not be business as usual," he said.

Updated: March 13, 4:25 p.m.

Pope Francis had dark ties to Argetina's military junta, a journalist alleges. As reported by The Guardian:

The extent of the church's complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina's most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship's political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate.

Updated: March 13, 4:20 p.m.

The new pontiff makes his first appearance, and the crowd goes wild.

Updated: March 13, 3:58 p.m.

The inaugural dispatch from the reactivated papal Twitter account roughly translates to "We have Pope Francis."

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Updated: March 13, 3:54 p.m.

Let's get to know Pope Francis a little better.

He's a "uniter" within church ranks

According to the National Catholic Reporter, then-cardinal Bergoglio "appealed to conservatives in the College of Cardinals as a man who had held the line against liberalizing currents among the Jesuits, and to moderates as a symbol of the church's commitment to the developing world."

He lives "simply" and talks a good game on poverty

While Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio chose to live in a small apartment rather than the archbishop's palace. He also opted to take the bus to work, rather than ride in the church-provided limousine.

He has also denounced poverty and human trafficking, saying “The suffering of innocent and peaceful continues to slap us, the contempt for the rights of individuals and peoples are so far away, the rule of money with his demonic effects as drugs, corruption, trafficking people, including children, along with material and moral poverty are big problems.”

And, as reported by Think Progress, upon becoming cardinal in 2001, Bergoglio “discouraged people from spending the money to fly to Rome to celebrate with him and advised that they instead donate the funds to help alleviate poverty at home.”

He is really bad on gay and reproductive rights 

The new pope has called gay marriage a "destructive attack on God's plan" and staunchly opposes abortion and contraception. In 2010 he called gay adoption "discrimination against children."

He is the first Latin American pope -- and the first Jesuit pope

He is also the first non-European pope to be elected in 1,272 years.

He was accused of conspiracy in a priest kidnapping in 2005 

According to the National Catholic Reporter:

Three days before the 2005 conclave, a human rights lawyer in Argentina filed a complaint charging Bergoglio with complicity in the 1976 kidnapping of two liberal Jesuit priests under the country's military regime, a charge Bergoglio flatly denied.

Updated: March 13, 3:20 p.m.

Argentine cardinal Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope. He is the first Latin American pope, and the first to be elected from outside Europe in more than a millennium.

He chose the name Pope Francis.


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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