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New pope is first Francis, saint of peace, poverty

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | 3:42 p.m. CDT; updated 5:08 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 13, 2013

VATICAN CITY — Francis, the name the new pope has chosen, is a much-beloved Italian saint who is identified with peace, poverty and a simple lifestyle.

Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first pontiff to adopt the name of Francis, the rich young man from Assisi who renounced wealth and founded the Franciscan order of friars in 1290. The choice could foretell the pope's priorities in striving to bring a sense of serenity to the troubled church. St. Francis is said to have been called by God to repair a church in ruins.

Choosing the name of one of Italy's patron saints also ties the new pope to Italy, the homeland of all popes of the last few centuries until 1978.


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