Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who on Wednesday
was elected to lead the world's 1 billion Catholics, has strongly
opposed gay marriage.
Bergoglio is the first South American
to lead the church. The 76-year-old pope will be called Francis, the
266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
Dressed in white, the new pope
addressed the thousands who had gathered in St. Peter's Basilica to
welcome his arrival.
“I would like to thank you for your
embrace,” he said.
In 2010, as Argentina debated a
marriage equality bill, Bergoglio called on Catholics to oppose the
move, calling it the devil's handiwork.
“Let's not be naïve, we're not
talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive
pretension against the plan of God,” Bergoglio wrote in a letter
calling on followers to join a protest rally in Buenos Aires.
“We are not talking about a mere
bill, but rather a move by the Father of Lies which aims to confuse
and deceive the children of God.”
Bergoglio went on to say that gay
adoption is discriminatory to children: “At stake are the lives of
many children who'll be discriminated against in being deprived of
the human growth that God wanted to be given through a father and a
Bergoglio's comments were criticized by
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kircher, who signed the
bill into law. The president called such references unproductive and
a throwback to the Inquisition.
A confidant of Bergoglio later
explained that he felt trapped between the government and its rival
Hector Aguer, the conservative archbishop of La Plata, and reacted as
a “soldier of God.”
“He has nothing against homosexuals
or transvestites,” the confidant said, “and has never
discriminated against them in his pastoral duties.”