Pope Francis is now one year into his tenure as Bishop of Rome and leader of the Catholic Church as a whole. And what a year it’s been! The past 12 months have seen more news come out of the Vatican than any other in a generation.
According to Fox News, the Pope tweeted a message on the anniversary of his election. It simply said, “Pray for me.”
Almost immediately upon taking up the mitre of the papacy, Francis has been on a mission of remaking the Church in many ways, some would say, taking it back to its roots. And most agree that this is not just an image makeover. Francis has made the mission personal, putting his own energy where his mouth is.
This past year has seen rumors of the pope sneaking out of the Vatican at night, going out in his old, plain priestly garb to run around Rome, helping the homeless.
He has called other priests out for spending outrageous amounts of church money on their own personal homes.
He has spoken out against unfettered capitalism, saying that it can be a force for good, but if not controlled, usually ends up taking advantage of poor people.
He has set the example of humility and service for others, choosing to eschew some of the typical trappings of the papacy – the throne, the bright red shoes, the PopeMobile – in favor of simpler accommodations.
He has encouraged others to use technology, including social media, to spread the Gospel and to help others.
He has shown public concern for the poor and disadvantaged, touching and personally paying attention to children and the infirm.
But it was the Pope’s launching of an investigation into the dealings of the Vatican Bank that really shook the standing system to its foundations. In the wake of that investigation, there have been indictments for money laundering, some cloak-and-dagger uncovering of plane trips with loads of cash, and a renewed determination of accountability regarding the bank’s activities, which have long remained shrouded in secrecy.
Of course, not everyone is happy with the change in the air. Some see Pope Francis as liberal or soft on sin. But his positions and fearless commitment to change has certainly brought lots of “lapsed” Catholics back to church, as well as high praise from non-Catholics.
Image via Wikimedia Commons