Pope Francis' views on key points of faith, ideology

Argentina's Jorge Bergoglio, who has chosen the name Francis as pope, is seen by many religion scholars as a centrist on matters of Roman Catholic doctrine.

In keeping with his Jesuit tradition, however, he is seen as progressive on many social issues like helping the poor and oppressed.

Here is a summary of his views on a variety of issues.


As Cardinal, Bergoglio was a fierce opponent of legislation which passed in Argentina in July 2010 legalizing gay marriage.

"Let's not be naive. This is not just a political struggle. It is destructive to God's plan," Bergoglio said shortly before the vote. It was one of many sticking points in his rocky relationship with President Cristina Kirchner, with whom he has clashed over the years.

Bergoglio also disapproved of a bill passed in May 2012 to grant recognition to transvestites and transsexuals under their elected gender.


In keeping with mainstream Catholic thought, he opposes terminating the life of an unborn child.

"A pregnant woman does not carry in her womb a toothbrush, or a tumor. Science shows that from the moment of conception, the new being has the whole genetic code," he said.

The new pope is against all use of condoms, even to prevent AIDS. He is seen as likely to maintain the current line against other forms of birth control as well.


Francis is opposed to euthanasia, even in the case of those who are sick or the elderly.


In 2012, he urged priests from all 11 dioceses in Buenos Aires to baptize all newborns, including those conceived or born out-of-wedlock.


As Cardinal, Bergolio has not spoken out on the pedophilia crisis.

Three Catholic priests have been criminally prosecuted since 2002 for sexual abuse of minors, and are serving prison sentences for their crimes. In addition, two bishops have resigned over child sex abuse scandals.

The Catholic Church in Argentine, however, has refrained from issuing a public statement in any of those cases, saying it would defer to whatever judgment is reached by the judicial system.


Bergoglio now 76, was 40 when a military junta overthrew the government and launched what came to be known as Argentina' "Dirty War," during which as many as 30,000 people disappeared.

He has been criticized for not being more outspoken in opposition to the regime and for allegedly failing to protect two Jesuit priests who opposed Argentina's military junta after they were kidnapped in 1976.

"I did what I could for a person of my age and with few ties to turn to advocate for kidnapped persons," he said in the book, "The Jesuit."


He is against ending celibacy among priests or changing the role of women in the church, nor is he expected to support changes in the Church's treatment of divorced Catholics and gays.


The new pope has often said that he opposes the church meddling in politics.

Bergoglio fought to prevent Jesuits from joining the liberation theology movement, which drew many of the continent's Catholic priests into political activity in opposition to right-wing governments.

He is viewed, however, as giving strong backing to social justice teachings of the church, despite shunning liberation theology's efforts to link the Catholic faith to the fight against political oppression.

Despite being avowedly apolitical, he has had a famously testy relationship with the current President Christina Kirchner as well as her late husband who preceded her as Argentina's leader.

Nestor Kirchner, who died in 2010, famously accused Bergoglio of being "the true leader of the opposition" the country.


The new pope is not against globalization but warns that it has its pitfalls, including an increasingly homogeneous world culture.

"We cannot deny the cultures of our own people," he has said. "That is the big danger."

While he is against mingling politics and religion, he has said that he believes that lay people can do much good at the level of policy, but that "ideologies always lead to violence."


Francis excoriates both world views for their "internal contradictions" and warns that "we should not resign ourselves to passively accept economic tyranny" -- which he said is possible under both systems.

The new pope has focused much of his work in Argentina on helping the poor, infirm and the drug-addicted.

He was particularly outspoken on behalf of the less fortunate during Argentina's financial meltdown from 2001 to 2002, famously decrying the rising poverty in Buenos Aires where some "take better care of a dog than a brother."