Pope Francis Fast Facts

Updated 11:28 AM EDT, Mon March 15, 2021
(CNN) —  

Here is a look at the life of Pope Francis, the current pope and first non-European pontiff of the modern era.


Birth date: December 17, 1936

Birth place: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Birth name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Father: Mario Bergoglio

Mother: Regina (Sivori) Bergoglio

Religion: Roman Catholic

Other Facts

The first Jesuit pope.

The first Latin American pope and the first from the Americas.

The first non-European pope in more than 1,000 years.

Reportedly received the second most votes in the 2005 papal election.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio took the bus to work and cooked his own meals.

Part of one lung was removed when he was a young man, but he is in good health, according to the Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi.


December 13, 1969 - Is ordained as a priest.

1973-1979 - Serves as provincial for Argentina.

1980-1986 - Rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel.

June 3, 1997 - Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires.

February 28, 1998 - Succeeds Cardinal Antonio Quarracino as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

February 21, 2001 - Is made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

November 8, 2005-November 8, 2011 - President of the Bishops’ Conference of Argentina.

February 11, 2013 - Pope Benedict XVI announces that he will retire, effective February 28th. He cites his “advanced age” as the reason.

February 28, 2013 - Benedict XVI leaves the Vatican. At 8 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET), his reign officially ends.

March 13, 2013 - Bergoglio is elected the 266th pope by 115 cardinals on the second day and the fifth ballot of the cardinals’ conclave. White smoke appears above the Sistine Chapel just after 7 p.m. local time. He takes the name Francis and appears on the balcony at St. Peter’s to greet the crowd.

March 19, 2013 - Pope Francis is inaugurated before a crowd of tens of thousands in St. Peter’s Square.

March 23, 2013 - Francis flies to Castel Gandolfo to meet with Benedict XVI. The Vatican says this is the first time in the history of the church that the current pope has met with his predecessor.

March 26, 2013 - The Vatican announces that Francis has decided to continue staying in a suite in the Vatican hotel instead of moving into the papal apartment.

April 13, 2013 - It is announced that an international council of eight cardinals has been appointed to advise Francis in reforming the Catholic Church.

July 29, 2013 - During his first news conference Francis makes the statement, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” while discussing the gay and lesbian community within the church.

September 19, 2013 - An interview is released in which Francis says that the church has the right to express its opinions but not to “interfere spiritually” in the lives of gays and lesbians.

November 26, 2013 - Francis releases “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), an 85-page call for the church to rethink some traditions.

December 11, 2013 - Francis is named Time magazine’s person of the year.

December 24, 2013 - The Pope visits with the former pope at the monastery Mater Ecclesia, where Benedict XVI lives. Francis later visits children in a local hospital.

December 24-25, 2013 - At St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis celebrates his first midnight mass as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

March 5, 2014 - In a newspaper interview, Francis reaffirms the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage, but suggests that it could support some types of civil unions.

April 27, 2014 - Presides over the Canonization of Blesseds, installing popes John XXIII and John Paul II as saints. Benedict XVI attends the ceremony as a guest.

August 30, 2015 - Francis announces that priests around the world will be able to forgive the “sin of abortion” during the Catholic Church’s “Year of Mercy” beginning on December 8 and ending on November 20, 2016.

September 8, 2015 - The Vatican announces reforms to the legal structures Catholics must follow to achieve marital nullity.

September 19, 2015 - Visits Cuba for the first time and praises the reconciliations taking place between Cuba and the United States. Francis also asks Cuba to allow for more religious freedom as the communist country prepares to build the first Catholic Church since the Cuban Revolution.

September 22-28, 2015 - Francis becomes the fourth head of the Church to visit the United States. Pope Paul VI made the first visit by a pontiff in October 1965. While in the United States, Francis visits Washington, DC, speaking at a joint meeting of Congress, addresses the UN General Assembly in New York and holds Mass at Madison Square Garden and attends the Festival of Families in Philadelphia.

November 25, 2015 - Francis arrives in Nairobi for his first-ever Apostolic journey to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic.

April 8, 2016 - Urges priests around the world to be more accepting of gays and lesbians, divorced Catholics and other people living in what the church considers “irregular” situations.