Pope Francis (Latin: Franciscus; Italian: Francesco; Spanish: Francisco; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 17 December 1936 is the head of the Catholic Church. He has been sovereign of the Vatican City State since 2013. Francis is the first pope to be a member of the Society of Jesus, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first pope from outside Europe since Gregory III, a Syrian who reigned in the 8th century.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bergoglio worked for a time as a bouncer and a janitor as a young man before training to be a chemist and working as a technician in a food science laboratory. After recovering from a severe illness, he was inspired to join the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1958. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1969, and from 1973 to 1979 was the Jesuit provincial superior in Argentina. He became the archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998 and was created a cardinal in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. He led the Argentine Church during the December 2001 riots in Argentina. The administrations of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner considered him to be a political rival. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013, a papal conclave elected Bergoglio as his successor on 13 March. He chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. Throughout his public life, Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God’s mercy, international visibility as pope, concern for the poor, and commitment to interreligious dialogue. He is credited with having a less formal approach to the papacy than his predecessors, for instance choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than in the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by previous popes.

Francis maintains the views of the church regarding abortion, clerical celibacy, and the ordination of women, but has initiated dialogue on the possibility of deaconesses and has made women full members of dicasteries in the Roman Curia. He maintains that the church should be more open and welcoming for members of the LGBT community. Francis is an outspoken critic of unbridled capitalism and free market economics, consumerism, and overdevelopment; he advocates taking action on climate change, a focus of his papacy with the promulgation of Laudato si’. In international diplomacy, he helped to restore full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, supported the cause of refugees during the European and Central American migrant crises, and made a deal with the People’s Republic of China to define how much influence the nation has in appointing their Catholic bishops. He has faced criticism from theological conservatives on many questions, especially what some interpret as his suggestion in a footnote of Amoris Laetitia that divorced and remarried Catholics may be admitted to receive the Eucharist.