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Humble Argentine Jesuit assumes the mantle of St. Peter

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis

Pope Francis greets a crowd of thousands on the Vatican balcony (AFP photo/ Pope Francis greets a crowd of thousands on the Vatican balcony (AFP photo/
  • Asia Desk, Bangkok
  • Vatican City
  • March 14, 2013
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In a speech filled with humility and a touch of self-deprecation, Pope Francis greeted a crowd estimated at more than 100,000 in St. Peter's Square by thanking his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for his service to the Church and seeking a favor of the faithful to "ask God to bless me."

The new pontiff, who was considered a long-shot candidate leading up to today's conclave, said his fellow cardinals "went to the other side of the world" to select a new pope.

"Let's begin this journey, bishop and people, a journey of brotherhood, love and trust among us," he said from the Vatican balcony.

The former archbishop of Buenos Aires was born on 17 December 1936 and ordained as a Jesuit in 1969. He succeeded Cardinal Antonio Quarracino as archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998.

His pastoral leadership in Argentina was been marked by a practical and unostentatious approach. He favored taking the bus instead of private cars and regularly visited the poor, who knew him familiarly as "Father Jorge".

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