His Eminence Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J.
Archbishop of Buenos Aires and primate of Argentina

In Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., Argentina has found itself an ideal pastor. Of Italian descent, he was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936. Prior to studying at the seminary in Villa Devoto and entering the novitiate of the Society of Jesus on March 11, 1958, he was a chemical engineer. Cardinal Bergoglio completed his humanities studies in Chile and returned to Buenos Aires in 1963 where he obtained a masters’ degree in philosophy from San Jose Major College, San Miguel. He taught literature from 1964 to 1966 before beginning his theology studies in San Miguel. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 13, 1969, and received his theology degree in 1970.

Following a year in Alcal de Henares, Spain, he took final vows as Jesuit on April 22, 1973. Apostolates followed one after the other—he served as novice master (1972–1973) then provincial of Argentina for six years, as rector of the San Jose seminary, and as a parish priest from 1980 to 1986. Next, Bergoglio went to Germany where he completed his doctoral dissertation. On May 20, 1992, Pope John-Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Buenos Aires and on February 28, 1998, Archbishop of Buenos Aires. As well, he was appointed ordinary for the faithful of the Eastern Catholic Church living in Argentina. At the consistory of February 21, 2001, John-Paul II created Bergoglio cardinal, with the titular church of Saint Robert Bellarmin.

Cardinal Bergoglio has held numerous posts—as a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. He is a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. The 2005 Synod of Bishops in Rome elected him to the Post-Synodal Council, and, in November, 2005, the Argentine Bishops elected him president of the Argentine Episcopal Conference for a three-year term—the first time a Jesuit has served as primate of Argentina.  

Although the track record of this distinguished cardinal is impressive, he is most widely known for his simple lifestyle, humility, and compassion. Thanks to his rich experience, theological depth, and the positions he has held in the Church, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is perfectly suited to be an excellent catechist.

© 2008 International Eucharistic Congress