Creator Mundi showcases news from the religious world.
Comments Off on Syrian refugees find support from Catholic Relief Services
Washington D.C., Sep 10, 2013 / 05:43 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Unable to enter refugee camps run by the United Nations, many Syrians fleeing from violence in their home country have found basic necessities and ongoing support from Catholic Relief Services in nearby Lebanon.
“When they come, they have nothing,” said Joan Rosenhauer, who serves as Catholic Relief Services’ executive vice president for U.S. Operations.
“You can hardly imagine what it’s like as a parent to go through this with your children,” she told CNA in a Sept. 9 interview, reflecting that the immensity of the refugee crisis “really strikes you when you see all the women and children” in the camps.
According to the United Nations, more than two million Syrians have fled the country, which has been entangled in a violent civil war for more than two years. In addition, more than four million people are estimated to be internally displaced as a result of the fighting.
Ongoing discussions of possible Western military intervention in the country have brought the Syrian crisis to the headlines in recent weeks, after reports of chemical weapon use against civilians outside of Damascus.
However, Rosenhauer warned that the plight of the refugees “can often get lost in this whole debate” over foreign policy.
She explained that “when people come, they’re often fleeing shelling” from bombing operations in Syria, and they frequently “just grab their children and run” across the border into neighboring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq.
Many people “are there with nothing,” she explained. “Because they often leave without their identification, they often can’t even get into a U.N. system.”
Many of those who cannot enter a U.N. refugee camp end up at informal sites, such as the ones in Lebanon administered by Catholic Relief Services, in conjunction with Caritas Lebanon.
Rosenhauer has visited some of these camps, where the international Catholic agencies work to get basic necessities to those in need, who are about 70 percent women and children.
These informal refugee camps do not receive official government aid, she explained. Rather, they are able to exist because “people find a person who is generous enough to give them land in the Beqaa Valley, and they start collecting whatever they can.”
“We try to get them some basic things like a cooking pot, some basic food, some cleaning supplies, blankets, some tarps,” she said.
Basic medical care and counseling are also important for refugees.
“They’ve lived through being in the …read more
Comments Off on Just How Bad Were Working Conditions in the 19th Century?
If is commonly held that working conditions in 19th century cities were much worse than those who lived and worked in the countryside at the time or earlier; similarly you will regularly hear that the creation of factories split up families because the father had to go to work for so many hours every day whereas previously they had seen much more of him. When I questioned the basis of this once with some, the answer I got was that ‘Charles Dickens proved it’. This was not a satisfactory answer to me – even if his picture portrayed in his novels is accurate it represents at best anecdotal evidence. It would be foolish, I suggest, to draw any conclusions about the general situation at this period only by consideration of works of fiction written for popular consumption. It does not give us facts and figures that might indicate what living standards were actually like during the 19th century; how conditions in the cities compared to those in the country; and how those conditions compared to the those of the previous century.
For an alternative view i looked to Capitalism and the Historians. This is a series of essays by economic historians who conclude that under capitalism in the 19th century, despite long hours and other hardships of factory life, people were in fact better off financially, had more opportunities to better themselves financially, had better living conditions and lived a life more supportive of the family life than those who lived in the country.
The five historians each describe first the life of the workers in the country, which were far worse for the most part than those in the cities. As a result, many people chose to leave the country and work in the city. This caused a problem for the the the landowners, who could not find the labour they needed to work the land and so they created a propaganda campaign highlighting the evils of the factories in order to dissuade their workers from leaving. The irony is that this propaganda was used by Marx and Engels who uncritically accepted much of it in their analysis of the factory system in Manchester. It is the Marxist propagandists who, harnessing envy of the vast riches for the industrialists, succeeded in making this the received wisdom. Furthermore, where there was injustice or dangerous working conditions, laws protecting workers were introduced …read more
Comments Off on Calif. advances abuse bill that could bankrupt Catholic dioceses
Los Angeles, Calif., Sep 10, 2013 / 04:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A California sex abuse bill that has been described as discriminatory against the Catholic Church has passed the legislature and is advancing to the governor’s desk.
Last Friday, the bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 21-8 at the close of the legislative session, and opponents are now asking for a veto from California Governor Jerry Brown.
The legislation would lift the statute of limitations on child sex abuse lawsuits against private schools and private employers who failed to take action against sexual abuse by employees or volunteers. It would allow alleged victims younger than 31 to sue employers of abusers, extending present age limit for alleged victims presently set at 26 years-old.
The bill specifically exempts public schools and other government institutions from lawsuits. It also exempts the actual perpetrators of the abuse from civil action in some cases, while leaving their employers vulnerable.
Potentially the most damaging provision of the legislation creates a one-year window on the statute of limitations for sex abuse lawsuits against employers.
A similar legal window in 2003 resulted in almost 1,000 claims against the Catholic Church in California, with legal awards totaling to $1.2 billion. Some of these claims dated back to the 1950s.
Kevin Eckery, a spokesman for the California Catholic Conference, told CNA June 11 that the Catholic Church in California can no longer rely on insurance policies and sales of property and other assets to meet the costs of any new lawsuits.
“If there were claims that were resurrected for a third time, you can find situations where dioceses might be forced to close schools. In the case of one of our dioceses, the Diocese of Stockton, they’re worried they might have to file for bankruptcy,” he said.
Other opponents of the bill include private institutions such as the YMCA, the YWCA, and the California Council of Non-Profit Organizations.
The Wall Street Journal criticized the bill as a “nonprofit shakedown” that targets the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and the “political enemies” of the legislature, in which Democrats hold a supermajority of seats.
The California Catholic Conference said the bill forces private employers by “forcing them to deal with an unworkable legal and business climate where they face unlimited liability of unlimited duration.”
The bill creates conditions where “the passage of time makes it impossible to mount an effective defense,” the conference said in a June …read more
Comments Off on Bishop: Catholics must adjust to cultural bias against faith
Springfield, Ill., Sep 10, 2013 / 02:08 am (CNA).- Bishop Thomas J. Papropcki of Springfield, Ill., said that Catholics should be aware of an “unconscious hatred for the faith” as they seek to interact with the modern culture.
In an interview with the Washington Times, published Sept. 3, the bishop reflected that in past generations, “many of the values in our secular world mirrored the values of the religious world.”
“And I think what’s happening now is that relationship – that symbiosis between our culture and the church has been ruptured,” Bishop Paprocki said.
He noted that he and many others grew up at a time when secular culture was more friendly to religion, as shown in the production of biblical movies like “The Ten Commandments.”
Now, however, the culture is moving towards the “outright rejection” of Judeo-Christian values.
He pointed to an “anti-Catholic bigotry” in the culture, seen in a “Late Night with David Letterman” segment where the host joked about the sexual abuse of altar boys.
He said the joke showed a “profound ignorance” in identifying the Catholic Church and the priesthood with sex abuse.
“Certainly, we have had our unfortunate share of scandals and sin and the church is dealing with that,” the bishop said.
However, he added that the Catholic Church is now one of the most responsible institutions in dealing with sexual abuse, implementing rigorous abuse prevention measures, training requirements and safe environment programs.
Public figures like Letterman “continue to point their finger at the Catholic Church and say you have a problem with sexual abuse and people are ignoring where most sexual abuse is taking place. It’s occurring in families. It’s occurring in schools,” Bishop Paprocki said.
“This lets people too easily off the hook to say that, ‘oh, that’s a Catholic problem’ …. If people are really serious about sexual abuse, I think they need to be looking at some other places as well.”
He said comics like Letterman “think they are being funny” and think their jokes are “where our culture is.”
“I don’t know if it is overt hatred for the Church but it is probably an unconscious hatred for the faith,” he observed.
“It’s a pagan kind of culture,” he said, adding that Christians have to “mentally adjust.”
Bishop Paprocki warned that the situation of the Catholic Church in the U.S. is becoming more like that of the Church in Poland under Communism, where Christians lived in “a very hostile environment.”
The …read more
Comments Off on DC cardinal highlights role of prayer in Syria resolution
Washington D.C., Sep 9, 2013 / 05:22 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Joining in a global day of prayer for peace in Syria, Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., urged Catholics to stand strong in their faith despite the threat of violence and evil in the world.
“The Church always calls us to prayer,” Cardinal Wuerl said in his homily. “Particularly in moments of crisis we turn to prayer.”
At this particular moment in history, he continued, we pray especially for “Syria and the Middle East, asking that God open them with the power of his love so that those hearts might be changed – so that the world might be changed.”
A Mass for Peace and Justice was celebrated on Sept. 7 – the vigil of the Nativity of Mary, Queen of Peace – at the Basilica of the National Shine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States, joined the cardinal at the liturgy, as a representative of Pope Francis.
The celebration of the Mass coincided with the beginning of the Vigil for Prayer at Saint Peter’s Square in Rome.
Pope Francis called for the vigil as part of a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria as Western countries, including the United States, discuss the possibility of a military attack against the country after reports indicated that chemical weapons had been used on citizens.
The D.C. Mass allowed Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington to unite themselves in prayer with the Pope and with the Universal Church.
At the Mass, Cardinal Wuerl prayed “for those who are a part of our human family and who endure terrible acts of violence,” asking for “God’s blessings on those who strive to contain violence around the world.”
The cardinal also asked for peace for “those who suffer so mightily in the Middle East,” as well as for the whole world.
He reminded the faithful that they “must never allow the violence that exists in the world to wound our inner conviction that Christ is ‘the way, the truth and the life.’”
“What the Lord tells us is that we have the power within us to make this world a better place,” he explained. “Our actions, while individual and seemingly small, play a part in the great cosmic struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness, between peace and war, between violence and harmony, between hatred and love.”
“Jesus tells …read more
Comments Off on Notes on the Beatitudes
By Barbara Nicolosi (Again, I’m writing here outside of my usual cultural and entertainment wheelhouse. This is the outline for a presentation I gave to the RCIA program at St. Dorothy’s Church in Glendora. I’m sharing it here because I had a number of requests. I qualify this by saying that I am not a theologian and it [Read More…] …read more
Comments Off on The Visitation – More Work of Students in the Style of the School of St Albans
Here’s some more work from the summer painting course I taught in Kansas City, Kansas at the Savior Pastoral Center Kansas. It was sponsored by the Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas which runs the center. I thought I would show some of the work done by students. This is unusual in that we focussed on 13th century gothic illuminated manuscripts from the School of St Albans. The original is shown top left and the work of the class below. Apologies to those whose work isn’t featured – I really haven’t deliberately cut anyone out. For some reason I didn’t arrive home with photographs of everybody’s work.
We have already booked up to do two more courses next summer, so those who are interested might even contact the center now. This year the places went quickly and we could have filled the class more than twice over. The center website is here.
At group of about a dozen adults attended the course and the level of experience varied. Some were themselves teachers of icon painting classes (who were interested in learning about the gothic style); and some were complete beginners. What was exciting for me was that all took to this western form of sacred art very naturally and were enthusiastic to keep doing it and develop this as a tradition for today. As with the work I showed recently (of St Christopher) what strikes me is how naturally the students took to this Western style. Withing a carefully controlled palette, I allowed some range of freedom in the use of colour, and encouraged them to use different borders around the painting. The ornate border is a characteristic feature of Western styles of sacred art.
I do my best to teach people so that they understand the underlying principles of what they are doing, and then they can work out things for themselves. I do stress the need for critiques of work from teachers in order to keep making progress, but at the same time, I want students to have the confidence to be able to do something on their own afterwards. So, I always try to explain why they copy precisely in some instances, and change things in others, for example. I also tell them how to examined the original painting and worked out how the artist did the original.
Comments Off on What is the Definition of Beauty? …Will the Real St Thomas Aquinas Please Stand Up
I had a friend once who used to teach philosophy to undergraduates at Cambridge. He told me that for him philosophy was all about the phrase: ‘ it depends what you mean by….’. He was joking but what he was getting at was that just about anything can be true as long as you make the words fit the meaning that you want them to.
Consider now what might be a good definition of beauty? How about this: ‘that which pleases upon being seen (or perceived)? To give it some medieval authenticity here it is in Latin – id quod visum placet. This, is regularly presented as definition of St Thomas Aquinas. I am no philosopher (and so am happy to consider that the problem could be mine), but my first reaction is to be troubled by this definition for two reasons. First is that it didn’t seem to take into account the possibility of error in judgement. If I disagree with someone on whether or not something is beautiful (and this has happened plenty of times), and if beauty is an objective quality and not merely a matter of opinion, then one or both of us must be in error. It always seemed to me that the only way of reconciling this with the definition was to say that it depends what you mean by “seen”; and it depends what you mean by “pleased”. Maybe this is relying on the fact that to apprehend beauty I have to see in the sense of apprehend clearly, as the pure see; and maybe also it is true if we consider only a genuine pleasure that which is derived from what it truly good. For all I know this definition probably also depends on what you mean by ‘that which’. Simple though the expression is, if we have to struggle with the definitions that much to make it fit ordinary experience then does it have any real use? Couldn’t someone clever come up with a better definition? Is the goal here to discover truth or to make Thomas Aquinas true I wondered?
The other reason that I struggled with this was that I read this definition first in a book by Jacques Maritain, (Art and Scholasticism, I think) The problem I had with the whole book was that after wading through hundreds of pages of difficult text he finally applied his theories and ‘proved’, …read more
Comments Off on On Hollywood Finding the Bible Again
By Barbara Nicolosi It always makes me laugh how mainstream media interviews take so long, but end up actually using so little of what has been said. I remember once doing an hour long on camera interview with ABC GMA and then having only about eight seconds of me end up in the finished piece. So many nerves [Read More…] …read more
Comments Off on Work from the Drawing Course at Thomas More College, Summer 2013
Here is the work produced by the students who attended the summer that took place at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. It was a two week course offered in conjunction with the Ingbretson Studio. Students spend the working days at the studios learning to draw using the academic method (which can trace its history back to figures such as Leonardo). In the evenings and at the weekend in the middle there was a full program of talks and museum visits plus daily Mass, in the Extraordinary Form, first thing each morning.
With its origins in the earlier High Renaissance, the method was developed to teach the naturalistic style of the baroque and reached its zenith in the 17th century. The visual vocabulary that it transmits cannot be understood except in the context of the Catholic liturgy. It is this additional component, therefore, that makes the partnership between the Ingbretson Studios and TMC such a unique offering. Most ateliers teaching this method tend to focus on a 19th century ethos, which is different and non-Christian. The 19th century style of naturalism, though superficially similar, was a sterile neo-classicism. It was the reaction to this that caused the modern art movement.
Cast drawing is the at the core of learning this method, by which students learn to think tonally and in see and draw in shapes rather than lines. These are the product of two weeks’ hard work.
Comments Off on Why Studying Mosaics Helps Painters to Discern Colour
When I was learning to paint icons with Aidan Hart he gave us the principle of learning to paint in a particular style: ‘copy with understanding’. This is true regardless of the style we wish to learn. For example, I am now focussing in the classes I teach on 13th century gothic images of the School of St Albans. I use the same principle: I look carefully, I try to understand what the artist was aiming at and then I copy. Even the great masters get things wrong and occasionally you can errors. On these occasions we don’t copy the errors but try to have in mind the ideal that the artist was aiming for and correct what is there. In order to be able to make such a judgement you either need to be very knowledgeable about the tradition, or have a good teacher who can point such things out to you. The motto that Aidan used was ‘think twice and paint once’. In other words, study carefully and think before you paint.
One thing that is sometimes very difficult to ascertain is how the colour and tone effects of a painting have been achieved. Usually what we are seeing are the combined effects of multiple transparent washes and glazes of all sorts of different tones and colours. To help us, Aidan encouraged us to look at old mosaics. The reason for this is that you can see how, for example, a flesh tone has been mixed because each constituent colour is present as a pure-coloured tessera.
Also, I can see more clearly than in a painting devices that artists use to describe form. For example, if we look at the mosaic of St Apollonarius below then we can see that the mosaicist has used all the devices that a painter is told to use on the face, but they are more obvious. So the line defining the upper lid is darker than that defining the lower eyelid. There is a dark red line between this and the eyebrow, which is the line where the eyeball goes back into the socket of the skull. There is a red line that defines the deep shadow between the hairline and the brow. Similarly, there is a red line below the end of the nose. All of these things are present in painted faces, but often they will be translucent to some degree and …read more
Comments Off on Teaching the Western Tradition – Work from My Students at a Recent Painting Course in Kansas
This summer we held a painting course in Kansas City, Kansas at the Savior Pastoral Center Kansas. I taught it and it was sponsored by the Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas which runs the center. I thought I would show some of the work done by students. This is unusual in that we focussed on 13th century gothic illuminated manuscripts from the School of St Albans. This one is a St Christopher painted by a master of the school called Matthew Paris.
The students, Paul Jentz and his mother Christi (who kindly took and sent me the photographs) worked from the image shown top left. They constructed a grid as a help but drew the design by hand. While giving them guidance, I gave each freedom to vary the border and the colour schemes. I think you’ll agree that they did a good job.
We have already booked up to do two more courses next summer, so those who are interested might even contact the center now. This year the places went quickly and we could have filled the class more than twice over. The center website is here.
At group of about a dozen adults attended the course and the level of experience varied. Some were themselves teachers of icon painting classes (who were interested in learning about the gothic style); and some were complete beginners. What was exciting for me was that all took to this western form of sacred art very naturally and were enthusiastic to keep doing it and develop this as a tradition for today.
Next month I will feature work by other students who worked on the Visitation.
How a Search for High Quality Painting Brushes Created Chinese Characters that Communicate the Gospel
Comments Off on How a Search for High Quality Painting Brushes Created Chinese Characters that Communicate the Gospel
Here’s an unusual story. First of all a tip for anyone looking for brushes for icon painting. I was looking for a source for good cheap brushes to use with egg tempera. The usual recommendation is Kalinsky sable. These are very expensive watercolour brushes and made from sable hair (a sable is an animal, a Russian marten). If you use brushes for watercolour they will last a lifetime, but if you use them for egg tempera they quickly degrade because the paint is quite abrasive, made from pigment – which is effectively coloured grit – and egg yolk, diluted with water. This can become expensive quite quickly. Luckily, I discovered that Chinese painting brushes are an excellent but much cheaper alternative. They are made to come to a point for use with calligraphy and hold a large amount of paint, so are perfect for painting in egg tempera. I get my brushes from an online supplier called Good Characters, here.
Another side of their business is doing a consultancy for people doing business in China – they develop company logos that will speak to the Chinese and give the right impression. As a regular customer, and as part of a promotion for this Andy Chuang who runs the company in California asked me if I wanted him to create a Chinese character for me. I thought about it and suggested this:
First of all the statement from Lao Tsu: ‘Man’s standards are conditioned by those of Earth, the standard of Earth by those of Heaven, the standard of Heaven by that of the Way [Tao] and the standard of the Way is that of its own intrinsic nature.’ (from Tao Te Ching, XXV (6th century BC)
Then I asked that this be juxtaposed with the scriptural quote: ‘I am the Way’ Jesus Christ, (John 14:6)
I thought maybe it would help evangelise China. Doaism has belief in heaven which is a non-material, spiritual place, but is an impersonal, empty heaven with no God. I thought that maybe putting these together might lead them to accept Christ as the fullness of what is believed.
Andy was very happy to oblige and sent me the following. First the Lao Tsu
and then from John’s gospel
then he sent me a Chinese screen image into which I could insert them. My techie skills aren’t up to it but I thought I …read more
Comments Off on Photos of Naumkeag House and Gardens, Stockbridge, Massachussets
The Way of Beauty gardens reporter, Nancy Feeman has sent met me another missal, this one following a trip to Stockbridge, Massachussets. “The name of the house is Naumkeag,” she tells me, “and the house itself was built in 1886. It is absolutely enchanting and charming. The gardens were redsigned from 1926 to 1955 and they are in the process of restoring them now. The idea of garden rooms is present in the design and a lot of the garden is heavily landscaped because the house sits on a hillside. The stairs are really interesting and have water flowing down to each level. Mabel Choate – the daughter who worked on the gardens – traveled to many countries for inspiration. This was was popular thing to do in the early 1900′s and as a result of this she wanted a Chinese garden. The rose garden is lovely but the rose bushes are very young. In general there were not many flowers which is what I really love but nevertheless it it was still beautiful and of course the views of the nearby mountains, the Berkshires make the whole scene so picturesque. The website is here.
From Sacra Liturgia, Rome: Beauty is a language without words and must be present in art and architecture
Comments Off on From Sacra Liturgia, Rome: Beauty is a language without words and must be present in art and architecture
Here is a report of the presentation on architecture and art by Fr Michael Lang of the Brompton Oratory at the Sacra Liturgia 2013. I hope I have done it justice.
Once again this was posted first on Catholic Education Daily. This is blog of the Cardinal Newman Society which seeks to spur on liturgical renewal in Catholic higher education, so I was very happy to be asked to report on the conference for them; and to make NLM readers aware of the efforts they are making in this direction as well as what went on in the report.
In this presentation Fr Lang stressed the need for liturgical forms that are in harmony with with well directed worship and for informed patronage; and a dialogue between artist and patron in the planning stages. In his presentation he did not rely on personal opinion as to the quality of the architecture he was showing (the opinions expressed in the article about particular churches are mine not his). Rather, he laid out the processes by which the architect was commissioned, and told us the (often absurd and grandiose) aims articulated by the architect. Then, dispassionately, he compared the stated aims with the requirements of the traditions of Church pointing out differences and contradictions if they occurred. Then without further comment after this analysis he presented us with a photograph of the final product, allowing us to make up our minds. The laughter of the audience said it all. I did not notice Fr Lang even crack a smile as he did this, which just seemed to add to the deadpan humour.
He finished by giving us some guiding principles that he felt that patrons should focus on when commissioning art and artchitecture and that might avoid some of the errors of the last 100 year.
Once again, the full article is here.
Comments Off on Blessing for Hollywood Artists and Professionals
By Barbara Nicolosi Tonight, August 3rd, we will inaugurate a new ministry to provide communal prayer, retreats, spiritual direction and formation to Catholic professionals in the entertainment industry. We invited 20 people to attend the first meeting and we have 42 who have let us know they are coming. It’s a sign that the Lord’s flock in Hollywood [Read More…] …read more
Comments Off on On Liberal Ideologues Watching Classic Movies
By Barbara Nicolosi I resonated with so much of this piece by Joseph Schaeffer. Especially loved this: “Those of us who don’t see a need to redefine the family or male and female sex roles and the like can easily view a classic film and enjoy it for what it is. We don’t feel a burning need to [Read More…] …read more
Our first Latin American and Jesuit pope!
The first Pope of the Americas Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from Argentina. The 76-year-old Jesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires is a prominent figure throughout the continent, yet remains a simple pastor who is deeply loved by his diocese, throughout which he has travelled extensively on the underground and by bus during the 15 years of his episcopal ministry.
“My people are poor and I am one of them”, he has said more than once, explaining his decision to live in an apartment and cook his own supper. He has always advised his priests to show mercy and apostolic courage and to keep their doors open to everyone. The worst thing that could happen to the Church, he has said on various occasions, “is what de Lubac called spiritual worldliness”, which means, “being self-centred”. And when he speaks of social justice, he calls people first of all to pick up the Catechism, to rediscover the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. His project is simple: if you follow Christ, you understand that “trampling upon a person’s dignity is a serious sin”.
Despite his reserved character — his official biography consists of only a few lines, at least until his appointment as Archbishop of Buenos Aires — he became a reference point because of the strong stances he took during the dramatic financial crisis that overwhelmed the country in 2001.
He was born in Buenos Aires on 17 December 1936, the son of Italian immigrants. His father Mario was an accountant employed by the railways and his mother Regina Sivori was a committed wife dedicated to raising their five children. He graduated as a chemical technician and then chose the path of the priesthood, entering the Diocesan Seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. He completed his studies of the humanities in Chile and returned to Argentina in 1963 to graduate with a degree in philosophy from the Colegio de San José in San Miguel. From 1964 to 1965 he taught literature and psychology at Immaculate Conception College in Santa Fé and in 1966 he taught the same subject at the Colegio del Salvatore in Buenos Aires. From 1967-70 he studied theology and obtained a degree from the Colegio of San José.
On 13 December 1969 he was ordained a priest by Archbishop Ramón José Castellano. He continued his training between 1970 and 1971 at the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, and on 22 April 1973 made his final profession with the Jesuits. Back in Argentina, he was novice master at Villa Barilari, San Miguel; professor at the Faculty of Theology of San Miguel; consultor to the Province of the Society of Jesus and also Rector of the Colegio Máximo of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology.
On 31 July 1973 he was appointed Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina, an office he held for six years. He then resumed his work in the university sector and from 1980 to 1986 served once again as Rector of the Colegio de San José, as well as parish priest, again in San Miguel. In March 1986 he went to Germany to finish his doctoral thesis; his superiors then sent him to the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires and next to the Jesuit Church in the city of Córdoba as spiritual director and confessor.
It was Cardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who wanted him as a close collaborator. So, on 20 May 1992 Pope John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Auca and Auxiliary of Buenos Aires. On 27 May he received episcopal ordination from the Cardinal in the cathedral. He chose as his episcopal motto, miserando atque eligendo, and on his coat of arms inserted the ihs, the symbol of the Society of Jesus.
He gave his first interview as a bishop to a parish newsletter, Estrellita de Belém. He was immediately appointed Episcopal Vicar of the Flores district and on 21 December 1993 was also entrusted with the office of Vicar General of the Archdiocese. Thus it came as no surprise when, on 3 June 1997, he was raised to the dignity of Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Not even nine months had passed when, upon the death of Cardinal Quarracino, he succeeded him on 28 February 1998, as Archbishop, Primate of Argentina and Ordinary for Eastern-rite faithful in Argentina who have no Ordinary of their own rite.
Three years later at the Consistory of 21 February 2001, John Paul ii created him Cardinal, assigning him the title of San Roberto Bellarmino. He asked the faithful not to come to Rome to celebrate his creation as Cardinal but rather to donate to the poor what they would have spent on the journey. As Grand Chancellor of the Catholic University of Argentina, he is the author of the books: Meditaciones para religiosos (1982), Reflexiones sobre la vida apostólica (1992) and Reflexiones de esperanza (1992).
In October 2001 he was appointed General Relator to the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Episcopal Ministry. This task was entrusted to him at the last minute to replace Cardinal Edward Michael Egan, Archbishop of New York, who was obliged to stay in his homeland because of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. At the Synod he placed particular emphasis on “the prophetic mission of the bishop”, his being a “prophet of justice”, his duty to “preach ceaselessly” the social doctrine of the Church and also “to express an authentic judgement in matters of faith and morals”.
All the while Cardinal Bergoglio was becoming ever more popular in Latin America. Despite this, he never relaxed his sober approach or his strict lifestyle, which some have defined as almost “ascetic”. In this spirit of poverty, he declined to be appointed as President of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference in 2002, but three years later he was elected and then, in 2008, reconfirmed for a further three-year mandate. Meanwhile in April 2005 he took part in the Conclave in which Pope Benedict XVI was elected.
As Archbishop of Buenos Aires — a diocese with more than three million inhabitants — he conceived of a missionary project based on communion and evangelization. He had four main goals: open and brotherly communities, an informed laity playing a lead role, evangelization efforts addressed to every inhabitant of the city, and assistance to the poor and the sick. He aimed to reevangelize Buenos Aires, “taking into account those who live there, its structure and its history”. He asked priests and lay people to work together. In September 2009 he launched the solidarity campaign for the bicentenary of the Independence of the country. Two hundred charitable agencies are to be set up by 2016. And on a continental scale, he expected much from the impact of the message of the Aparecida Conference in 2007, to the point of describing it as the “Evangelii Nuntiandi of Latin America”.
Until the beginning of the recent sede vacante, he was a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
He was elected Supreme Pontiff on 13 March 2013.