Yesterday, March 13, 2013, as white smoke poured from the chimney and bells peeled in the Vatican, Catholics around the world welcomed and celebrated a new Holy Father, whom they look to as the Vicar of Christ on earth. Lake County Right to Life also wishes to extend a warm welcome to Pope Francis as head of the Catholic Church and world leader.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (pronounced Ber-Goal – io) was born in Buenos Aires in 1936. His father was an Italian immigrant. He has chosen the name Francis I and is the first Jesuit pope and the first South American to lead the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis is an intellectual known for his humility and personal simplicity. In Argentina he lived in a simple apartment rather than the archbishop’s palace, cooked his own meals and gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work.
In 2010, when Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, Bergoglio directed clergy across the country to lead their Catholic flock in protest against the legislation because, if enacted, it would“seriously injure the family” and that gay adoption would be “depriving (children) of the human growth that God wanted them given by a father and a mother.”
Pro-Lifers are greatly edified by strong statements made by the Cardinal on abortion and euthanasia, such as:“abortion is never a solution” and the dignity of the elderly and the importance of resisting euthanasia, in his statement: “Even if euthanasia is not legal in many countries, it is being actualized covertly through attitudes of exclusion and abandonment of the elderly”
Cardinal Bergogli, condemned abortion even in cases of rape. In a 2007 speech given to a gathering of priests and laity on October 2nd, then-Cardinal Bergoglio issued a defense of life even in cases of rape saying: “we aren’t in agreement with the death penalty,” but” in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death.”
It is expected that Pope Francis will place a high priority on life issues because he also served as a member of the Pontifical Council on the Family.
The significance of the first Latin American Pope is expected to be received with great joy by the Latin American Catholics who are a large percentage of the world’s Catholic population.
Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement on the selection of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis I: “Priests for Life is delighted at the selection of Pope Francis I and we are assured that the sanctity of all human life will be a top priority for this Pope, as it has been for his predecessors. We look forward to working under the leadership of the new Pope to advance the Culture of Life.”
Pro-life champion Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia stated: “Pope Francis is a man from the new heartland of the global Church; a priest of extraordinary intellectual and cultural strengths; a man deeply engaged in the issues of contemporary life and able to speak to the modern heart; open to the new realities the Church faces; and rooted in a deep love of Jesus Christ.”
“He is a wonderful choice; a pastor God sends not just to the Church but to every person of good will who honestly yearns for justice, peace and human dignity in our time,” added Archbishop Chaput.
Welcome Holy Father Francis I.