Francis

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Francis, 1936–, pope (2013–), an Argentinian (b. Buenos Aires to Italian immigrants) named Jorge Mario Bergoglio; successor of Benedict XVI. Francis, the first non-European to assume the papacy in more than 1,200 years, is the first pope from the Americas and the first from the Society of Jesus (see Jesus, Society of). Born into a middle-class family, he earned a chemical technician's diploma, worked in industry, and later entered the seminary. He joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1958 and was ordained a priest in 1969. From 1973 to 1979, he served as Argentina's Jesuit provincial, in charge of supervising his order's activities in the country, and he later was accused of complicity in crimes committed in the 1970s "dirty war" by Argentina's military. Francis has denied these charges, and others maintain that he saved or sheltered a number of regime opponents and that, although he did not actively oppose the junta, he never collaborated with it. Named auxiliary bishop of Buenos Aires in 1992 and archbishop in 1998, he was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001. From 2005 to 2011, he was head of the Argentine Conference of Bishops; he opposed contraception, same-sex marriage, and adoption by gay parents, clashing with the Argentine government on these policies.

Considered a social moderate and doctrinal conservative, Francis is known for a personal style expressive of humility and for a devotion to social justice. As pope he has denounced the "idolatry of money" and structural economic inequality and exclusion, and called for a renewal of the Catholic pastoral ministry. His encyclical Laudato si' [Praise be to you] (2015) called on people to care for the earth and press for a solution to climate change, and placed this heightened concern for the environment in the context of his predecessors' concerns for the poor and human life and their protests against the effects of unrestricted capitalism and consumerism. Francis also has increased supervision over and sought to overhaul the Vatican's finances, which have been the source of scandal and controversy, and sought to reform the Curia in general. In 2015 he approved the establishment of a tribunal to judge bishops accused of failing to respond properly to sexual abuse scandals.

See biographies by E. Piqué (2014) and A. Ivereigh (2014).

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Francis, 1554–84, French prince, duke of Alençon and Anjou; youngest son of King Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici. Although ill-shapen, pockmarked, and endowed with a curiously formed nose, he was considered (1572–73) as a possible husband for Queen Elizabeth I of England. During the Wars of Religion (see Religion, Wars of), he opposed the anti-Protestant policy of his mother and conspired with Huguenots and moderate Catholics against his mother and his brother, King Charles IX. By the peace of 1576, which ended the fifth war of religion, he obtained the appanages of Anjou, Touraine, and Berry. He led (1578) an expedition into the Netherlands, which was then in rebellion against Spain. In the same year, he was again prominent as Elizabeth's suitor. Offered (1580) the rule of the Low Countries by William the Silent, leader of the rebellious states, he led a new invasion and was for a time the ruler of several provinces, but in 1583 was compelled to withdraw. His death opened the French succession to Henry of Navarre (later King Henry IV).

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Francis male forename, name of two saints.
St Francis de Sales (1567–1622), French bishop, one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation. The Salesian order (founded in 1859) is named after him. His feast day is 24 January.
St Francis of Assisi (c.1181–1226), Italian monk, founder of the Franciscan order. Born into a wealthy family, he renounced his inheritance and devoted himself to his religious calling. He soon attracted followers, founding the Franciscan order in 1209 and drew up its original rule (based on complete poverty). He is revered for his generosity, simple faith, humility, and love of nature, and is often shown preaching to the birds. His feast day is 4 October.

The extremely austere rule written by him in 1209 for the Franciscan order was modified in 1221 and received papal approval in 1223, but divergences of practice led to the separation of the Friars Minor of the Observance (the Observants) and the Friars Minor Conventual (the Conventuals) in 1517, and to the foundation of the stricter Friars Minor Capuchin (the Capuchins) in 1529. The order of Franciscan nuns was founded by St Clare (c.1212) under the direction of St Francis; they are known as ‘Poor Clares’. There is also a third order of lay associates (tertiaries), and a Franciscan order within the Anglican Church.

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Francis ( François de Sales) (Christian bishop and spiritual director): see DE SALES.