​Family life, health, salary and other interesting facts about Pope Francis

​Family life, health, salary and other interesting facts about Pope Francis
Pope Francis expected to visit South Sudan between February 3-5.

Pope Francis is set to make his maiden trip to South Sudan, and his second to the Democratic Republic of Congo, in early February.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the highest population of Catholic faithful.

Pope Francis, who celebrated his 87th birthday last December, is the head of the Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome, and the sovereign of the Vatican City State.

The papal delegation is expected to arrive in Juba from Kinshasa on February 2. He will thus spend the next two days in the capital, where he is set to meet President Salva Kiir and the five vice presidents separately. The pope is also expected to meet religious leaders and IDPs during his three-day visit to South Sudan.

But who is Pope Francis?

Here are some interesting facts about Pope Francis.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Italian parents, Pope Francis had four other siblings.

Pope Francis was the son of two deceased sisters, Maria Elena Bergoglio and Marta Regina, and two deceased brothers, Alberto Horacio and Oscar Adrián.

Pope Francis was born on December 17, 1936, to Italian parents – Mario Jose Bergoglio and Regina Sivori.

His father, who passed away in 1959, was an accountant (Contador) who migrated to Argentina from Turin, Turin, Piedmont, Italy, in the early 90s.

María Elena Bergoglio, Pope Francis’ only servicing sibling.

Pope Francis speaks three languages: Spanish, Italian, and German. This means that you shouldn’t expect his speech, in Juba to be in either Arabic or English.

One lung

Pope Francis, born Jorge Bergoglio, has only one lung.

When he was a teenager, a young Bergoglio had one of his lungs removed on health grounds.

“Back when he was a young person, there was not yet widespread antibiotic drug therapy, and it is possible that he had substantial involvement of a lung or part of a lung and had to have it removed,” Schaffner said.

“That was a pretty standard treatment in the pre-antibiotic drug era,” Dr William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., told the Associated Press.

Doctors had feared that the Pope could have had a complication of whooping cough, pertussis or even pneumonia.

His ascension to the position of pope, in 2013, makes him the first pope from Latin America. He replaced the late Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned on February 28, 2013. This also makes Francis the first pope born outside of Europe in more than 1,000 years.

While he holds a prestigious position, Pope Francis, who trained as a chemist, likes to cook his own meals.

We cannot say with certainty whether he still does, but it would be interesting to see the octegonerian flex his cutlery skills with local dishes like okra or even a source of janjaru, when he visits Juba next week.

He is known for kissing the feet of his visitors and caring for the less privileged in society.

In 2001, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 AIDS patients at an Argentine hospice. In 2019, he gave President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar the famous “kiss of peace”, when the then-political protagonists visited the Vatican.

Pope Francis bending to kiss the foot of President Salva Kiir when he visited the Vatican in 2019. [Photo: Vatican]

Pope Francis is also on record as having slammed other Latin American priests who objected to the baptizing of children born out of wedlock.

Though he presides over an institution with more than $4 billion in annual returns, Pope Francis does not receive a salary.

“As an absolute monarch, he has everything at his disposal and nothing at his disposal.

“He doesn’t need an income, because he has everything that he needs,” Mimmo Muolo, the author of the 2019 book “The Church’s Money.” was quoted by the New York Times.

“He doesn’t need an income, because he has everything that he needs.”

Though the Vatican does not make the salaries of officials public, the New York Times reported that of the over 5,000 people employed in the Roman Curia – the administrative institutions of the Holy See, and in Vatican City State, cardinals have the highest monthly salaries, ranging from $4,700 to $5,900.

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