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The Globe and Mail

Pope Francis becomes first Jesuit to lead world's Catholics

Cardinals watch as Pope Francis speaks to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

Andrew Medichini/AP

More than four centuries after St. Ignatius of Loyola travelled to Italy seeking pope Paul III's permission to found the Jesuit order, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the first of the spiritual brotherhood to be elected pope.

As one of the world's 19,000 priests ordained to the Society of Jesus, as the order is officially known, Pope Francis vowed in 1969 to a life of perpetual poverty, chastity and obedience, including a "special obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff," according to the The Society of Jesus in the United States.

When he was vice-president of the Argentine bishops conference, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was mentioned in a cable published by WikiLeaks discussing the 2005 papal candidates. The U.S. embassy at the Vatican said at the time his Jesuit standing "could count against him" since "some senior prelates, especially conservatives, are suspicious of a liberal streak in the order."

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