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

world Updated: Mar 14, 2013 22:13 IST
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio

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, globalisation and his own interests and life experience:

On baptising 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 globalisation:
"To fight the effects of globalisation 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.

"He can't stand waste. He says there are children in Argentina in the favelas; he is always thinking of them," she told La Stampa daily in an interview.

On cinema:
He told Ambrogetti and Rubin his favourite film is Babette's Feast, a 1987 Danish film about two pious Christian sisters in 19th century Denmark that take in a cook who prepares them a feast after winning the lottery.

On art:
"My favourite painting? The White Crucifixion by Chagall," he told Ambrogetti and Rubin.

Chagall painted the picture in 1938, and it depicts scenes of Jewish suffering around Jesus on the cross.