Pope Francis

In 2000, Argentina’s Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, left, celebrates a Mass in honor of slain Priest Carlos Mugica, the day his remains were taken to the Villa 31 slum in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mugica was born in Buenos Aires in 1930 and worked with the needy, advocating liberation theology in Buenos Aires’ slums. He was assassinated in 1974, two years before Argentina’s dictatorship, by the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance, a right-wing death squad, when he had just finished celebrating Mass in Buenos Aires. Every significant slum in Buenos Aires has a church, thanks in part to Bergoglio, who was elected pope on March 13.

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — For more than a billion Roman Catholics worldwide, he’s Pope Francis. For Argentina’s poorest citizens, crowded in “misery villages” throughout the capital, he’s proudly known as one of their own, a true “slum pope.”

Villa 21-24 is a slum so dangerous that most outsiders don’t dare enter, but residents say Jorge Mario Bergoglio often showed up unannounced to share laughs and sips of mate, the traditional Argentine herbal tea shared by groups using a common straw.

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