Born in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio rose within the Catholic church and to a position within the curia in Rome.
What sets him apart from many is his early association - and continued association with Communion and Liberation, a cause which links political thought and the actions of the church with those around them. Formed by 3 basic tenets:
1 the wonder of the Incarnation, an enthusiasm for it and a recognition of its reasonableness
2 the affirmation that Jesus of Nazareth is a present event in a sign of communion
3 only in his presence can man be truer and mankind be truly more human.
But as far as most progressives are concerned, this will be one of the most conservative possible candidates. Cardinal Bergoglio is famous for his declarations against homosexuality and was well known to believe that one of the problems within the church that led to the sex-abuse scandal was it's lax methods of not screening potentially gay priests/etc.
In a statement made, he said:
"Let's not be naive, we're not talking about a simple political battle (referring to the intention of gay marriage); it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God."
The cardinal has also written books on spirituality and meditation and has been outspoken against abortion and same-sex marriages.
In 2010, when Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage, Cardinal Bergoglio encouraged clergy across the country to tell Catholics to protest against the legislation because, if enacted, it could "seriously injure the family," he said.
He also said adoption by same-sex couples would result in "depriving (children) of the human growth that God wanted them given by a father and a mother."
In 2006, he criticized an Argentine proposal to legalize abortion under certain circumstances as part of a wide-ranging legal reform. He accused the government of lacking respect for the values held by the majority of Argentines and of trying to convince the Catholic Church "to waver in our defense of the dignity of the person."
As far as many progressives are going to be concerned, this is not quite the worst pick imaginable, but it is definitely a pick that further puts the Catholic church behind the 8 ball. Early rumors had circulated that Scola had an inside track - this would have been welcome news to many, as Scola's views on stem cells, sex and hiv prevention would have been huge steps forward.
But by selecting a 76 year old South American, the Catholic Church has made a play for the new world.. with very old world ideas.
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