Pope Francis, then bishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, visiting the Villa 21-24 slum in Buenos Aires, 1998.
Parroquia Virgen de Caacupe / Courtesy Reuters

Pope Francis has adorned the cover of Time, Rolling Stone, and even The Advocate, a magazine for gay news. World leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, have lined up to praise him. The pope’s rise to global popularity has been quick, boosted by a surprising and often blunt message of economic and social justice. Many observers have attributed that message to a self-conscious embrace of his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, the thirteenth-century Italian friar who was famous for choosing a life of poverty, and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI's perceived lack of attention to economic and social concerns. But Francis’ roots in

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