He is the first Pope to come from the Americas as well as the first from the southern hemisphere.
Pope Francis is also the first Pope to come from outside Europe since Gregory III in the 8th century.
There has been a lot of talk recently that he could follow in his predecessors footsteps and resign on grounds of ill-health.
But has he called it quits yet? And who could replace him if he does?
Here’s all you need to know:
Has Pope Francis resigned?
At the time of writing on June 24 at 11am, Pope Francis has not officially resigned as head of the Catholic Church.
Why are there rumours he could resign?
Pope Francis is 85 years old and there are rumours he may be considering resigning on health grounds.
Pope Benedict XVI stepped down in 2013 on medical grounds.
Francis has been seen being pushed around in a wheelchair in public in recent months.
How many Pope’s have stood down while alive?
Pope Benedict XVI was the first Pope in the modern era to stand down – with his predecessors all holding the position until death.
He was the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415, a move which ended the Western Schism – a decades long split in the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XVI was the first Pope to resign voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294.
Who are the favourites to be the next Pope?
According to Paddy Power, these are the favourites to be the next Pope:
- Peter Turkson – Ghana – 4/1
- Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga – Honduras – 5/1
- Luis Antonio Tagle – Philippines – 6/1
- Raymond Leo Burke – United States – 15/2
- Christoph Schonborn – Austria – 15/2
- Marc Ouellet – Canada – 9/1
The odds suggest we could be set for a black or Asian pope.
Peter Turkson would also be the first pope from Africa in almost 1,500 years – three of the early pope’s Pope Victor I, Pope Miltiades and Pope Gelasius I were from the Roman Africa Province.
Meanwhile Luis Antonio Tagle would be the first pope from the Philippines and the first southeast Asian pope.
The odds also include Raymond Leo Burke and Marc Ouellet who could become the first North American pope.
How is the next Pope selected and who is eligible?
The next Pope is chosen by the College of Cardinals.
A papal conclave takes place in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City and it is here that the next Bishop of Rome, and thus Pope, is decided.
The cardinals vote in ballots to elect the Pope, the process can take several days and multiple rounds of voting.
A two-third majority is needed for a person to be elected Bishop of Rome.
If a vote takes place and this majority isn’t reached, black smoke will emerge from the Sistine Chapel – this is known as Fumata nera.
When the majority has been achieved by someone, white smoke can be seen instead – known as Fumata blanca.
Technically speaking any Catholic male who is baptized and has reached the age of reasons, however it tends to be members of the College of Cardinals.