So, I did some extensive research on Pope Francis for a final paper in Media, Popular Culture & Religion. Why? Genuine curiosity. My intent in sharing is not to preach but simply share what I found. My conclusions solidified some of my overriding questions, which included how Pope Francis (Franco, from here on) has changed the Catholic religion (previously tainted in Priests’ sexual abuse allegations, and some ultra conservative viewpoints on abortion, gays and divorcee’s); and if it’s even possible for religions to transform, without losing credibility in which its foundation was built?
Here’s what you should know about Pope Franco…
1. He is the first non-European Pope in forever — nothing against Europeans, but a leader of such a massive, diverse group of people should be subject to change.
2. Acts of humility are kind of his thing. And they happen way too frequently to be misinterpreted as ‘photo op’s’. Pope Francis has been spotted kissing the feet of homeless, kneeling to acknowledge convicted felons, embracing the extremely disfigured…
3. He utilizes media and vice versa. Franco has a twitter (follow him, here)—his first tweet asked the general public to ‘pray for him’. Also, he was the 4th ranked world leader covered in the media in 2014 (Pew Research).
4. He has made radical statements (for Catholicism) such as, in response to gays: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”; He’s acknowledged the possibility of evolution alongside creation; in response to gender inequality in the Church he stated, “The feminine genius is needed whenever we make important decisions.”; in the case of atheists or non-believers he has been inviting: “God is in everyone’s life. Even the life of a person has been a disaster—destroyed by vices, drugs…God is in this persons life”.
5. Pope Francis recently played a crucial role in mending the foreign relations between The United States and Cuba.
6. He just exemplifies ideal human behavior rather than preaching what no one essentially knows to be certain, and in return the Catholic Church has received an increase in likability.
Religions can transform, and in my opinion, should! Pope Franco has simply given the Bible a different interpretation, which parallels modern times and also just basic, common good behavior.