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Pope Francis Turns 80 Today

Since he was elected Pope in 2013, the man that millions of Catholics around the world call "His Holiness" has spread his message of mercy and love.

Today is Pope Francis' birthday. As the first Pope from the Southern Hemisphere celebrates his 80th, we look back on his remarkable life.


Jonathan Ernst

The Pope, The Bouncer

Pope Francis, who was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was the oldest of five children born to Italian immigrant parents in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Pope Francis as a young man.

Before joining the priesthood, Pope Francis studied to be a chemical technician and took many odd jobs. It may be hard to believe now, but in his youth Pope Francis worked as a bouncer in a nightclub and even as a janitor.

He's told reporters that he is a soccer fan, loves tango dancing, and is even a movie buff who grew up watching Argentinian musicals.

A Pope Who Makes Headlines

Pope Francis has made a point of doing things differently from his predecessors, often in surprising ways.

For instance, he chose not to live in the luxurious apartment normally reserved for the Pope. Instead, he stays in a smaller guest house meant for visitors. He also chose to dress simply, refusing the more ornate clothing and jewelry worn by other Popes.

While fine clothes and nice apartments don't interest him, social media does. In March, Pope Francis became the first Pope with an Instagram account.  

Less than 12 hours after creating the account His Holiness had over a million followers, setting a record for the picture-sharing app.

Speaking For The Voiceless

The Pope's comments on poverty and income inequality since his election have been controversial, but the issues are clearly very important to him.

In a 2015 speech at the United Nations, Pope Francis called on countries around the world to honor the "sacred rights" of the poor, and the Pope himself has made a point of reaching out to the forgotten and ignored.

Pope Francis has even washed the feet of refugees and prisoners, including people of different beliefs, a gesture of love and welcome for those who are on what he calls the "outskirts" of society.

Share this post to wish His Holiness a happy 80th birthday!

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