Pope Francis celebrates 10 years of leading the Catholic Church. The former Argentine cardinal assumed the position of the 266th pope as the first Latin American cardinal after the death of Benedict XVI last year. became the first pope in 600 years to resign.
Argentina-born former cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio will celebrate 10 years of his pontificate with a mass with the cardinals in the chapel of the Saint Mary’s Hotel, where he has lived since his election.
Francis is the first Jesuit pope and the first pope in 1,300 years who does not come from Europe. He was born on December 17, 1936 in Argentina, one of five children of an Italian railway worker and his wife. After studying philosophy, he taught literature and psychology at the Jesuit universities in Santa Fe and Buenos Aires, and was ordained a priest rather late, in 1969 at the age of 32. Despite this, four years later he led the local Jesuit community. He completed his doctoral dissertation in Germany, after which he returned to his homeland. He was appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and Cardinal in 2001.
When he became the new pope 10 years ago, it was quite a surprise for those gathered in St. Peter’s Square as well as for experts, journalists and commentators. He was elected in one of the shortest conclaves: on the second day of the conclave and the fifth vote of 115 cardinals who were imprisoned in the Sistine Chapel, the name of the new pope was given. “Brothers and sisters, good evening,” said Francis, when he appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica an hour after the white smoke and thanked everyone gathered for the reception.
Pope Francis constantly emphasizes the importance of simplicity. In accordance with this belief, he also gave up staying in the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace, where his predecessors stayed.
As he reported for Prvi Tomaž Gerden, the choice of the name Francis after the famous saint Francis of Assisi showed that the new pope will be deeply socially sensitive, which he soon showed by condemning the treatment of refugees and other migrants. His positive attitude towards the environment was shown in the encyclical Laudato you are. Pope Francis continued his predecessor’s fight against sexual abuse in the Church with sincere apologies. His reforms in the curia and demands for financial transparency met with resistance from certain circles in the Church, who also accuse him of populism.
“You don’t lead the church with your knees, but with your head”
The 86-year-old pope has health problems, especially with his knees, so he uses a cane to walk and also uses a wheelchair. “You don’t lead the church with your knees, but with your head,” he reportedly told an aide after using the wheelchair for the first time in public on May 5, 2022, according to Reuters. As he announced, he is ready to resign in case of serious health problems, but at the same time he is also convinced that popes should rule until death and that the status of pope emeritus, which his predecessor Benedict XVI had after his resignation, should not become ” fashion.”
So far, he has visited 60 countries and territories
As reported by Reuters, with 10 years of pontificate, Francis has already exceeded the average of the previous 265 popes, who ruled on average 7.5 years. So far, he has visited 60 countries and territories, not including his native Argentina.
So far, he has also appointed about 64 percent of these cardinal electors, who are under the age of 80 and can compete for the position of his successor after his death or resignation.
The longest-serving pope to date is the first Pope Saint Peter, who is said to have reigned for 35 years, and in modern history it was Pope Pius IX, who was pope for more than 31 years between 1846 and 1878, followed by Pope John Paul II., who was at the head of the Church for more than 26 years between 1978 and 2005. Urban VII., who in 1590 is said to have ruled for only 13 days, is considered the pope with the shortest tenure.