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
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.
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.
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.
May 13, 2016 - Says the Vatican should study the possibility of ordaining women as deacons, answering a call that women, particularly in the United States, have been asking the church to address for decades.
June 26, 2016 - Says Christians owe apologies to gays and others who have been offended or exploited by the church, remarks that some Catholics hail as a breakthrough in the church’s tone toward homosexuality.
November 21, 2016 - Extends indefinitely the power of Catholic priests to forgive abortions. This follows a special dispensation during the Year of Mercy, which ended November 20, 2016, and allowed all priests, rather than just bishops and specially designated confessors, the power to absolve the “sin of abortion.”
July 16, 2017 - Dozens of conservative Catholic scholars and clergy send a letter to Francis accusing him of spreading heretical positions on marriage, the moral life and the Eucharist.
October 11, 2017 - During a Vatican conference, Francis argues to change the official church teaching on the death penalty. The Catholic church currently teaches that recourse to the death penalty is permitted. The Pope says the death penalty is “inadmissible,” and that official Catholic teaching should reflect that.
November 27, 2017 - Francis becomes the first pope to visit Myanmar, a majority Buddhist country. During a four-day trip, the Pope meets with Myanmar’s cardinal, the military’s most senior general. While in the country, he avoids using the word “Rohingya,” a term the government rejects.
January 18, 2018 - Defends Chilean bishop Juan Barros, who is accused of covering up sex abuse for decades.
April 8, 2018 - Francis says he made “grave errors” in handling a Chilean sex abuse scandal in a letter to the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Chile.
June 11, 2018 - Accepts the resignation of three Chilean bishops, including Barros. The three bishops submitted declarations of resignation after meeting with the Pope from May 15-17.
August 20, 2018 - The Vatican releases a letter from the Pope that directly addresses the latest accusations of sexual abuse by priests. In part, he writes: “With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives. We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”
February 3, 2019 - Francis arrives in the United Arab Emirates, making him the first pontiff to visit an Arab Gulf state.
April 27, 2019 - The Vatican announces that Francis has donated $500,000 to aid migrants in Mexico. The money will be used for housing, food and necessities for the Central American migrants. The funds will be split among 27 projects in 16 Mexican dioceses and religious congregations.
May 9, 2019 - Francis issues new global rules for reporting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, mandating for the first time that all dioceses set up systems for reporting abuse and coverups. The new rules require all Catholic dioceses around the world to have a “public and accessible” system in place for reporting abuse by June 1, 2020.
October 5, 2019 - Francis appoints 13 new cardinals during a ceremony at the Vatican.
November 23, 2019 - Francis begins a four day tour of Japan. This trip is only the second papal visit to Japan and the first in nearly four decades.
December 17, 2019 - Francis abolishes Vatican secrecy rules for cases of sexual abuse, effectively allowing the Catholic church to share documents and information with civil authorities, and allow victims to be updated of the status of their cases. Francis also expands the church’s definition of child pornography, raising the age limit on who is considered a child from 14 to 18.
October 21, 2020 - Francis declares support for civil unions for same-sex couples for the first time as Pope, according to the Catholic News Agency. The historic remarks are made in the documentary film, “Francesco.” In a letter sent on October 30 from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State to papal representatives (nuncios) around the world, the Vatican says that the comments made in the film were taken out of context. Months later, Francis approves a combative statement from the Vatican saying that the Catholic Church would not bless same-sex unions.
October 25, 2020 - Francis appoints Wilton Gregory to become America’s first Black cardinal.
December 31, 2020 - The Vatican says Francis will not lead the Vatican’s New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations due to sciatic pain. Francis first revealed he had sciatica (herniation of spinal disk) during an inflight press conference while on a visit to Brazil in 2013.
March 5, 2021 - Lands in Iraq for a historic tour of the war-ravaged nation, where he is meeting with the country’s top political and religious officials and also members of the dwindling Christian community. The trip marks the first-ever papal visit to Iraq, and the pontiff’s first trip outside of Italy since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
June 1, 2021 - Francis issues the most extensive revision to Catholic Church law in four decades, insisting that bishops take action against clerics who abuse minors and vulnerable adults, commit fraud or attempt to ordain women.
July 4, 2021 - Francis undergoes surgery. The procedure is “a scheduled surgical intervention for a symptomatic stenotic diverticulitis,” according to a statement from the Holy See communications office.
November 2, 2021 - A message from Francis dated October 29 in support of the COP26 UN climate summit is read in part to the assembly by Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Pietro Parolin. In urging solidarity in the fight against climate change, he says that “the wounds inflicted on our human family by the Covid-19 pandemic and the phenomenon of climate change are comparable to those resulting from a global conflict.” He stresses the need for commitment, especially by countries with greater means to contribute.