The Argentinian Jesuit who became Pope
By Susy Hodges
A senior editorial official at Vatican News, Fr Bernd Hagenkord explores how Pope Francis' joking description of himself following his election as “coming from the ends of the earth” helps lead us to a better understanding of his background as an Argentinian Jesuit. Although the newly-elected Pope was referring to the fact that as Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he came from a country that geographically was very distant from Rome, Fr Hagenkord said the Pope's background has shaped his perspective on people and the world on many different levels. We bring you a selection of brief sound clips from the evening of the Pope's election on March 13th, 2013 followed by Veronica Scarisbrick's interview with Fr. Hagenkord.
His way of seeing the world
The Pope’s “way of seeing the world is shaped by where he grew up,” said Father Hagenkord. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he describes how the future Pope witnessed “at first-hand” the impact of a “brutal” dictatorship in his native Argentina, seeing “the violence” and “how people suffered.”
His Jesuit formation
As a fellow Jesuit, Fr. Hagenkord says he sees Pope Francis’ Jesuit background and formation in a number of ways, firstly because “he talks in 3 points” but also “in the way he preaches and looks at Jesus.”
The Pope has no fear
Asked what has struck him most about Francis’ pontificate at a personal level, Fr. Hagenkord says the Pope’s fearless character is very striking and his behaviour in this respect makes him “close to Jesus Christ.”
“The Pope is not afraid, he has no fear… he puts himself at risk.”
Referring to Pope Francis’ charisma, Father Hagenkord points to how the Holy Father “loves people, he loves being with people” and this “gift” connects him and his message to all cultures.