Francis, A New Kind of Pope


Pope Francis, in 2013
Photo by Casa Rosada (Argentina Presidency of the Nation) via Wikimedia Commons

In March 2013, the Catholic church had a new pope: Pope Francis. Anne Muir and Adam Navis look at the life of Pope Francis and how he is different than many Popes who came before him.

Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Anne Muir.

Voice 2  

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

It is 2013. A crowd stands silently together. They wait in the city of Rome, in St Peter’s Square. They are looking up, to the top of the buildings. They have been gathered this way for two days. Suddenly, a cry goes up. People point their fingers. A thin line of white smoke rises from the chimney. The sign is clear. The Roman Catholic Church has used this same sign for thousands of years. The people cry out in joy. They do not know yet who the new Pope will be. But they know that the church has a new leader. There is a new Pope. Finally, church leaders come to a window. They announce the name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He will be called Pope Francis.

Voice 2  

Around the world there are more than one billion Catholic Christians. This makes the Catholic Church the largest Christian church. As the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis is not just a religious leader. He is also a world leader. Today’s Spotlight is on Pope Francis.

Voice 1  

A Pope is chosen in a special way. First, a group of the highest church leaders meet in Rome. They are called Cardinals. Only 120 Cardinals can take part. They each travel from their home countries around the world: South Africa, Vietnam, Nigeria, Mexico, Argentina, the Philippines, the United States, and many others. They chose a new Pope from within this group.

Voice 2  

Most of the times, Popes are from Europe - and mainly from Italy. But Pope Francis is from Argentina. He is the first Pope from a country in Latin America. This is important because almost 30% of the world’s Roman Catholics live in South America. Pope Francis is also the first Jesuit Pope. Jesuits are known for keeping the Catholic church current with what is happening in the world.

Voice 1  

Before he was Pope, Bergoglio was known as a man who lived simply and cared deeply about people. But most Catholics around the world did not know very much about him. However, immediately after he was chosen, he showed that he would be a different kind of leader.

Voice 2  

People treat popes with a lot of respect. They often receive special treatment. But, after Pope Francis was elected, he returned to his hotel with the other Cardinals. He got his own bag, and talked to every person there. There was a special car for him, but he refused to go in it. Instead he went on the bus with the other Cardinals. This was only the beginning of his changes.

Voice 1  

Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1936. As a young man, he decided to become a priest. He studied at a school which belonged to the Jesuit group, the Society of Jesus. Jesuits are an important group within the Catholic Church. They concentrate on education. They serve poor people. But Bergoglio was not perfect.

Voice 2  

In 1976, a new government took control in Argentina. It was a terrible time. Authorities arrested people who opposed the government. They tortured and killed many people. At that time Bergoglio was the leader of the Jesuits in Argentina. People have questioned his actions during this time.

Voice 1  

The most serious of these charges is the story of two Jesuit priests. These priests opposed the government, and were speaking against it. But they were not doing their other work as priests. So Bergoglio withdrew the protection of the church. The military took the priests and tortured them for six months. After they were released, they criticized Bergoglio. Some people also criticize Bergoglio because he did not speak publicly against the government.

Voice 2  

Since then, Bergoglio has admitted that he made mistakes. He asked for forgiveness. Recently, other witnesses report that Bergoglio secretly protected many innocent people. He used his position to hide people from the government.

Voice 1  

That time changed Bergoglio. He follows all the teachings of the Catholic church. But he balances this with concerns about people. In 1998, Bergoglio was appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He was the head Roman Catholic priest in the city. He was given a big palace to live in - the official home for the leader of the church. But Bergoglio did not want to live this way. He chose to live in a small set of rooms. He also did not use a car and a driver. Most people cannot pay for these things. So, like the members of his church, he cooked his own food, and travelled by bus.

Voice 2  

As the head of the church in Argentina, Bergoglio continued to show care and love for people. He spent time with the poorest people of Buenos Aires. He spoke publicly about the need to care for poor people. And he worked to improve the church’s work with poor people. In religious services, he washed the feet of people with AIDS.

Voice 1  

It was this man that the Cardinals elected - simple, caring, and honest. When a Cardinal becomes a Pope, he chooses a new name. Bergoglio chose the name Pope Francis. He took it from the Italian Saint, Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis lived in the 13th century. He was a rich man. But he gave up his money. He lived very simply and helped poor people. As the Pope, Francis has followed this example. He has spoken about the problems of poor people. He has criticized governments who do not protect poor people and immigrants.

Voice 2  

But Pope Francis does at least one thing differently than Francis of Assisi. He is the first Pope who has a Twitter account! He tweets in nine languages. And he has over 31 million followers. He speaks to all people with care and encouragement. We end this program with a tweet from Pope Francis from January 9, 2017.

Voice 3  

“There can be no true peace if everyone claims always and only his or her own rights, without caring for the good of others.”

Voice 1  

What do you know about Pope Francis? Do you think he is a good leader? Do you think he is a good example for people to follow? Tell us what you think. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. And find us on Facebook - just search for Spotlight Radio.

Voice 2  

The writers of this program were Shelagh Godwin and Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Francis, A New Kind of Pope’.

Voice 1  

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What do you know about Pope Francis? Do you think he is a good leader? Do you think he is a good example for people to follow?

Comments


Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on February 13, 2017

I am a Christian Protestant, does not believe in the divinity of the human by name of the Lord.
But I respect and love the Catholics and all Christians, and their faith.
I think that Pope Francis a distinct person, Pope privileged. And I think that he made a already significant change in Catholic theology, and most importantly in the mind / mental Catholic.
God bless you

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kenhieuloilam
said on February 16, 2017

All the beautiful good things are by God and God loves everyone. God wants everyone to be happy. Jesus Christ teaches us to love one another. Jesus Christ loves his church. God gives the grace by the church. We become children of God. We become members of the church. We live our faith life. We live in the church. The church faithfully keeps the law and the commandments of God. We live in the church. We faithfully keep the teachings of the church.

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Giant
said on February 18, 2017

Pope Francis is very different from previous popes , he gives wonderful example about Jesus and his teachings . No doubt he is wonderful leader , he doesnt look forward his own benefits being a Pope , he is caring about poor people around the world , showing excellent example as a leader , hope someday all worldwide’s leaders follow his steps , making our human being to live in peace.