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French Jesuits cheer one of their own in Vatican

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-03-15

Jorge Bergoglio, the new pope, is the first Jesuit to lead the Catholic Church. FRANCE 24 takes a look at a religious movement that has its roots in 16th century Paris – and still exists, discretely, in the French capital.


When he became Pope Francis on Wednesday, Jorge Bergoglio, the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, took his place in history as the first pontiff from Latin America.

But he is also the first Jesuit to lead the Catholic Church.

The Society of Jesus was founded in Paris in 1534 by Spaniard Ignatius of Loyola, quickly growing under his charismatic leadership.

It was a time of change, just before the Counter-Reformation, a movement that aimed to bring changes to the Catholic Church from within as a response to the Protestant Reformation that was spreading throughout Europe.

Jesuits currently have 19,000 members across the globe.

In the French capital, tucked away between shop fronts, the entrance to the Chapel of the Jesuits in Paris is as discreet as those who attend.

A stone’s throw away is the Sèvres Centre, a private institution in which Jesuit professors teach philosophy and theology.

The school is one of 3,500 Jesuit universities throughout the world.

Date created : 2013-03-15

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