Pope Francis becomes 1st Jesuit pontiff

Jesuits have historically been considered more liberal and intellectual than other members of the Roman Catholic Church.

Jesuits have historically been considered more liberal and intellectual than other members of the Roman Catholic Church. (3/14/13)

WOODBURY - Pope Francis has already set the tone for a different style of papacy than his tradition-minded predecessor.

The 266th pope is the first from the Americas and the first to take the name "Francis." He's also the first Jesuit pontiff.

The Jesuit order was founded in Rome back in 1540 and quickly spread across the world. There are now about 19,000 Jesuit priests and brothers worldwide, about 3,000 of whom are in the U.S.

While Jesuits have historically been considered more liberal and intellectual than other members of the Catholic Church, papal experts say Pope Francis probably won't shift the theological direction of the church.

In recent years, Pope Francis has mostly echoed the conservative Vatican positions regarding homosexuality, birth control and abortion.

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