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JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO – now known as Pope Francis – made history on March 13 when he became the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church.
Here are 10 other fascinating facts about the new pontiff:
Francis once proposed to his childhood sweetheart, Amalia Damonte, when they were 12, saying if she turned him down, he’d have to become a priest! “Luckily for him, I said no,” she explained.
He became an avid swimmer after losing part of his right lung due to contracting tuberculosis when he was a teenager.
A huge soccer fan, he’s a dedicated supporter of an Argentinian team called San Lorenzo de Almagro, named after a saint, of course! In fact, after he was declared the new pope, the club tweeted a photo of him holding up the team’s flag.
He can do a mean tango! Before finding his calling in the church, he and his friends enjoyed going out dancing.
In addition to his native Spanish, he speaks Italian and German.
His father, Mario Jose Bergoglio, was an Italian immigrant railway worker; his mother, Regina Maria Sivori, was a housewife. He is the oldest of five siblings.
He has washed and kissed the feet of AIDS patients in a hospice and has criticized priests who refuse to baptize babies born to single mothers.
He has degrees in chemistry and philosophy and taught at the Colegio del Salvador in Buenos Aires.
His sister Maria Elena Bergoglio didn’t want him to be pope, telling reporters after she learned the news: “I prayed he wouldn’t be chosen.”
Unlike many in the Catholic Church hierarchy, he has said that condoms are “permissible” to prevent the spread of disease.