He may be one of the most popular people in the world. But do you really know the pope and the man behind the robes? As the leader of the Catholic Church, he certainly has billions of followers. Yet, only very few people really know who the real Jorge Mario Bergoglio is. Read on and learn some interesting facts about the pope that you probably didn’t know.
He’s The First Latin American To Be Named Pope
Pope Francis is from Argentina, particularly from Buenos Aires. Over the years, most of the men who became leaders to the Catholic Church have hailed from Europe. Of the history of the church alone, about 200 popes were from Italy. For the 266th pope however, this changed. In addition, he is also the very first Jesuit to become the leader of the church.
He Knows A Thing Or Two About Chemistry
Prior to or entering the seminary at Villa Devoto, he studied at a technical school. It was during his stint at this technical school where he decided to pursue training of becoming a chemical technician— a calling he would likely have kept with if he did not end up becoming the Holy Father of the Catholic faith.
He Was a Teacher of Psychology And Literature
Ever delighted to share his knowledge with the younger generation, he had a stint as a psychology and literature teacher back in 1964 to 1965 at Santa Fe’s Immaculate Conception College. After a year, he went to Buenos Aires and went to teach at the Colegio del Salvatore for the same subjects. Just as he was a passionate teacher, he also was an eager student because in 1986, he earned his doctorate in Freiburg, Germany for theology.
He Almost Became Pope Several Years Earlier
When Pope John Paul II passed away in 2005, Jorge Bergoglio or Pope Francis now almost became pope when he received the second-highest vote during the papal conclave. It wasn’t meant to be then and Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope then and went on to become Pope Benedict XVI
He’s Quite The Multilingual
As was revealed by the National Catholic reporter, the pope is well-versed in Italian and Spanish. However, he can also speak a bit of Portuguese, German, French, Latin and of course, English— quite handy, especially since his job requires him to serve those that belong in the Catholic faith all over the world— Catholics who of course, speak different languages.
He Used To Ride The Subway Or The Bus
Even before he became pope, Pope Francis has been known for being committed to the poor. This is why it is hardly a surprise to learn that during his pre papal days, he used to ride the bus or take the subway— quite a far cry to being on a lavish limousine or vehicle.
He Prefers Cooking His Meals
According to a report by List25, the pope, during his cardinal days, is known for making his own meals. This is quite a surprise, especially since when he was a cardinal, he used to have access to a highly removed archbishop chef— truly staying true to his humble lifestyle, as Jesuits are known for.
He Has Lost His Other Lung
In his youth, the pope had an infection which led to the need to remove his other lung. While it is more than possible for people to function really well despite having lost a lung, this places the pope at a much higher risk for contracting pneumonia or getting flu complications.
He’s a Fan of Football
An avid supporter of the neighborhood team in his hometown, the San Lorenzo de Almagro Football club, he has always been a massive football fan. He even has a collection of football jerseys as celebrities, pilgrims, dignitaries and presidents have been known to give him with one all the time.
He Was Quite Athletic
He used to enjoy basketball in his teenage years. This was mainly due to the influence of his father who played for the San Lorenzo basketball team then. It is this connection for this particular sport that has also led him to end up with quite an impressive collection of basketball jerseys. He even has a personalized jersey gifted to him by the Boston Celtics.
He Loves Dancing
A true Argentine by heart, he has always had a fondness for tango. The Guardian reported that on his 78th birthday, thousands of people flocked to St. Peter’s Square and danced the tango in celebration.
He Was a Club Bouncer
Talk about a jack of all trades! The pope used to work as a bouncer in Buenos Aires back in the day. He used to man a local nightclub, keeping unwanted personalities off the premises— as if the chemistry lab stint isn’t interesting enough. He even worked by sweeping floors as part of his job experience in the past.
He’s A Tolkien Fan!
But then again, who isn’t? Apparently, the pope loved Tolkien’s work so much that he grew so fond of Bilbo and Frodo’s character. He even uses these characters when thinking about hopeful heroes who were called to step up when they had to make a choice between a path of good or evil.
He’s Quite Stealthy Too!
It was reported by BBC Rome that in the morning right after he was elected as the head of the Catholic Church, he managed to sneak out of the Vatican City. He went in a motorcade of vehicles that were unmarked just so he could get to the Roman Basilica and say a prayer there.
He Loves Taking Selfies
Perhaps the most approachable of all popes, you can see tons of pictures of him taking selfies and flashing a bright smile right next to the outstretched hands of his fans. He is certainly blending in well with the new techy trend, making him even more lovable among the masses although a massive nightmare to the people working as his security detail.