Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Catholic pope by the papal conclave in 2013, after his predecessor, Pope Benedict, resigned. He chose his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.
He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1936. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and was created a Cardinal in 2001. Francis is the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church, in which capacity he is Bishop of Rome and absolute Sovereign of the Vatican City State. He the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first non-European pope since Pope Gregory III in 741. Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, his concern for the poor.
For the first time, a pope is visiting Iraq. But wars and terrorist attacks have long since driven most Christians out of the country. Some Iraqi Catholics will be following the pope’s journey from Germany.