In the hours following Jorge Mario Bergoglio‘s selection as the first Latin American pope, we’ve picked up the essentials about the Argentine: where he’s from, his stance on issues ranging from abortion to gay marriage, and have even learned about his theological doctrine regarding social outreach and the business of the church. But the man behind the ceremonial robe – the 76-year-old known before Wednesday as Jorge Bergoglio - has yet to be revealed. Here are some interesting facts that news organizations around the world are reporting about Pope Francis: a leader of Catholics who just happens to be a tango-music-loving soccer fan who speaks several languages and holds a master’s degree in chemistry.
1. EFE news agency reports Jorge Mario Bergoglio told his high school sweetheart that if he couldn’t marry her, he’d become a priest. But her family disapproved of the match so they never married. She says she still regrets the fact that Bergoglio wasn’t able to officiate her wedding.
2. The Washington Post is reporting Pope Francis flew to Rome in tourist class and asked Argentinians to donate money to the poor, instead of traveling to Rome to celebrate his papacy.
3. Vatican officials say Pope Francis lost part of a lung to disease as a young man, while other reports say he only has one lung and insist the injury has never affected his work.
4. His parents, Mario and Regina, were Italian immigrants (Italy’s jus sanguinis legal tradition considers that the children of Italian citizens are Italians, regardless of their place of birth; therefore, Pope Francis is technically, if not actually— he carries an European Union passport—both an Argentine and an Italian national.)
5. Pope Francis is a cuervo, as fans of the popular San Lorenzo de Almagro soccer team in Argentina are known (actor Viggo Mortensen, who grew up in Argentina, is the most famous Hollywood cuervo). He also loves an Argentinian tea called mate and told Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin, the authors of his 2010 biography El Jesuita “I like the tango a lot, and when I was young I used to dance it.”
6. He has a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires.
7. Pope Francis became an ordained priest at 32; even though he entered the Society of Jesus on March 11, 1958, because of his studies he was not ordained priest until Dec. 13, 1969, according to Examiner.com.
8. The new pope speaks at least 5 languages: Spanish, English, Italian, French, German “and probably Portuguese,” said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, adding that if Pope Francis doesn’t speak Portuguese well now, he will refine his skills when he travels to Brazil for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.
9. In 2005, Borgoglio almost became pope. In the 2005 papal election, he was third on the ballot and lost to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
10. According to Vatican Radio, the morning Pope Francis left for the conclave, a couple of friends bought him a new pair of shoes because the ones he was wearing were in bad shape, which speaks to his very humble demeanor.
Nina Terrero contributed to this report.