Pope Saint Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is the 266th and current pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected in March 2013 and is known for his humility, simplicity, and focus on social justice issues. He is the first pope from the Americas, hailing from Argentina. Pope Francis has emphasized care for the environment, poverty reduction, and promoting dialogue between different faiths. His papacy has brought a more open and inclusive approach to the Church’s teachings, advocating for compassion and mercy.
- Pope Francis (2013 – present): Chose his name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, known for his humility and care for the poor.
- Pope Benedict XVI (2005 – 2013): Chose the name Benedict, which means “blessed” in Latin, as a reference to Saint Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the Benedictine order.
- Pope John Paul II (1978 – 2005): Chose a double name, combining the names of his predecessors Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI, to symbolize continuity in the Church.
- Pope John XXIII (1958 – 1963): Chose the name John, which means “God is gracious,” as an expression of his humility and simplicity.
- Pope Pius X (1903 – 1914): Chose the name Pius, which means “pious” or “devout” in Latin, reflecting his strong devotion to the faith.
- Pope Leo XIII (1878 – 1903): Chose the name Leo, which means “lion” in Latin, symbolizing strength and courage.
- Pope Gregory the Great (590 – 604): Chose the name Gregory, which means “vigilant” or “watchful,” reflecting his dedication to pastoral care and teaching.
- Pope Saint Peter (d. 64 or 67): The first pope, the name Peter means “rock” or “stone,” symbolizing his foundational role in the early Church.
It’s important to note that not all popes’ names have specific meanings behind them. The choice of papal names is often influenced by various factors, including personal preferences, historical significance, and devotion to saints or virtues.