The election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to supreme pontiff Wednesday marks a series of firsts for Catholicism: He’s the first South American pope, the first Jesuit pope and the first to bear the name Francis.
The 76 year old Argentinean is the son of a railway worker and is known for his humility. He reportedly denies himself the luxuries afforded to many Cardinals, taking the bus to work and cooking his own meals. Indeed, his choice of name, Francis, is said to be significant: Francis Xavier was one of the founders of the Jesuit order – one founded on humility – and many believe Pope Francis is signaling a new direction for the church.
Just like his predecessor though, he is conservative on social issues and is a vocal opponent of gay marriage and abortion. He is also said to have been a runner up in the papal election of 2005.