One Year of Pope Francis

On the day it was announced that Jorge Bergoglio was elected, the immediate reaction was, “Francis! Oh this is Revolutionary!”

A year later, we reflect. Is Pope Francis revolutionary?

He asks for our prayers before he blesses us. He hugs us, appears in selfies with youth and washes our feet. He continues to look to Pope Benedict for guidance. He speaks and acts with candor and charisma. Time named Francis Person of the Year in 2013, calling him “the people’s pope.” He also made the cover of Rolling Stone. He seems to know he is human like us. He speaks with reporters. He will set up a commission to deal with the sex scandals and abuse. He calls an elderly woman who had lost a child monthly to comfort her. He has spoken out against priests who belittle congregants. He invited homeless men to his home to celebrate his birthday. When asked about gay priests, he said, “Who am I to judge?”

In addition to showing signs of a more tolerant church and putting ministry to the poor at the forefront, Pope Francis is also clearly concerned with making the church accessible to all people on the margins. It is an echo of the action of the other Francis, the man of Assisi, rebuilding the church of Jesus,” Father Joel Camaya says. “Perhaps it is not a mere coincidence that his pontificate coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. If Vatican II opened the windows for the spring air to come in, the papacy of Pope Francis opens the doors for the church and her pastors to go out.”

Gayle Trotter adds about Pope Francis, “The fabulous thing about Pope Francis is that he challenges everybody. If you hear him from whatever perspective it is – left, right, observant, nonobservant, Protestant, Muslim – if you hear him and you are not challenged, then you’re not really listening to him.”

Some argue that many of his actions covered heavily in the media do not actually give us signs as to what his lasting affect will be as pope. It is also being reported that worldwide, Catholics seem to be excited to be Catholic. What do you think? After one year in the papacy, is Pope Francis revolutionary? 

Published by Ellie Roscher

Ellie Roscher is the author of How Coffee Saved My Life, and Other Stories of Stumbling to Grace. She holds a master’s degree in Theology/Urban Ministry from Luther Seminary and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College.

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