New pope's views, from tango, to art, to gay marriage

Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:35pm EDT
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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio surprised the world on Wednesday when he ended a run of nearly 1,300 years of European popes and greeted St. Peter's Square for the first time as Pope Francis.

Here is a selection of the 76-year-old Jesuit's opinions on topics ranging from unmarried mothers, gay marriage, globalization and his own interests and life experience:

On baptizing children of unmarried parents: "The child has absolutely no responsibility for the state of his parents' marriage. And often a baptism can be a new start for the parents as well," he said in an interview with 30 Giorni Catholic magazine in 2009.

On gay marriage: In 2010, he challenged the Argentine government when it backed a gay marriage bill. "Let's not be naive. This isn't a simple political fight, it's an attempt to destroy God's plan," he wrote days before the bill was approved by Congress.

On globalization: "To fight the effects of globalization that led to the closure of many factories and the consequences of misery and unemployment, you have to promote bottom-up economic growth with the creation of small and medium-sized companies. Outside help should not just come in the form of funds but should also reinforce a work culture and a political culture," he told Francesca Ambrogetti from Italian newspaper La Stampa in an interview in December 2001.

On vanity: "I often say to illustrate the reality of vanity: look at the peacock, how beautiful he is from the front. But if you see him from behind, you see the reality. Whoever falls for this self-referential vanity hides major misery inside him," he said in an interview published on La Stampa's Vatican Insider website in February 2012.

On dancing the tango: "I like the tango a lot, and when I was young I used to dance it," he told Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin, the authors of his 2010 biography El Jesuita.

On his former girlfriend: "She was one of a group of friends I went dancing with. But then I discovered my religious vocation," he told Ambrogetti and Rubin.

On wasting money: He is known to travel around Buenos Aires on the buses and underground, and he caught a low-cost flight to Rome, according to his cousin in Turin, Maria Teresa Martinengo.   Continued...