Many people like Pope Francis, but the question is, Why? When the former bouncer and Jesuit priest, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became the 266th pope on March 13, 2013, he took the name of the humble Saint Francis. With his humility and ability to grasp modern issues, he has won over the masses and was Time Magazine’s Person of the year in 2013. People like Pope Francis because he is personable and doesn’t flaunt his status with fancy attire or vehicles. In fact, he drives around in a 20-year-old Renault 4 with close to 200,000 miles on it. He’s not concerned about his safety or being behind several inches of bullet proof glass. There are reports of Francis sneaking out at night dressed as a regular priest and ministering to Rome’s homeless.
Francis will embrace and hug handicapped visitors and was the first pope to wash a woman’s feet at Rome’s Casal Del MarmoYouth Detention Center. If you contact the pope, he may respond back personally. Some people who have sent the pope letters or gifts were surprised to get a call from him on his landline. Everyone else can keep tabs on him via Twitter; his account has over 35 million followers. Pope Francis won over the internet by being the most searched for term on the internet in 2013 and most talked about topic in Facebook posts.
There are some people that do not like Pope Francis and that list includes conservative Catholics and Sarah Palin who consider him too liberal. The mafia is also upset with him for speaking out against organized crime and putting an end to the church’s involvement in money laundering.
Pope Francis is compassionate when it comes to modern families and is seeking changes in the church’s stance on divorce, cohabitation, and same-sex relationships. He supports baptizing infants from divorced or unmarried couples. Francis does not want the church to “interfere spiritually” in the lives of gay couples and was quoted in July for saying “If someone is gay and searches for the Lord and has good will who am I to judge?”
When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013, Pope Francis led 60,000 in prayer for those impacted and the Vatican provided $150,000 in aid. In June 2013, Harley Davidson gave the pope a Dyna Super Glide for their 110th anniversary, the pontiff donated it to the Catholic charity, Caritas who will auction it off on February 2nd, 2014. The money raised will go towards renovating its Don Luigi di Ligro hostel and soup kitchen which serves more than 1,000 poor, homeless and jobless on a daily basis.
With his charitable actions and modern mindset, even atheists are warming up to him. In his Christmas speech he called upon atheists and non-believers to unite and work together for peace. Unlike his predecessor, Pope Benedict, who called an Islamic text “evil and inhuman”, Pope Francis hopes for Christians and Muslims to have a mutual respect for each other, especially though the education of future generations. With his humble heart and peaceful mindset, it’s no wonder why Pope Francis has won over the masses.
By: Cheryl Gress