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National Geographic Features Pope Francis on Cover of August 2015 Issue

By Zebra48bo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Zebra48bo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Pope Francis has been thoroughly profiled for a new issue of the magazine, as well as a new book.

National Geographic has released its August 2015 full length feature piece about Pope Francis. The feature will be released along with Pope Francis and the New Vatican, a book written by Robert Draper and photographed by Dave Yoder, the National Geographic photographer. Yoder spent 6 months, more or less, following Francis around Rome. Meanwhile, Draper spent a month in Rome speaking with Vatican officials, and three weeks in Argentina speaking with Francis’s friends from long before his papacy. The piece is titled Will the Pope Change the Vatican or Will the Vatican Change Pope Francis? His focus on the poor and Catholic Church reform is consistently represented through the many stories that Draper and Yoder were witnesses to. Yoder said that he was “struck by Francis’s enthusiasm for interacting with ordinary people”.

August issue highlights

Along with numerous interviews with Vatican officials, who have stated that the Pope is a conundrum, we learn more about Francis’s stance on a number of subjects. Previously Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he chose his moniker to honor St. Francis, known as the “champion of the poor”. In addition, he refused to ride in his limo, which had been standard for the pope since JFK was assassinated. Rather than living in the traditional palace of the pope, Francis stays in the guesthouse, a two room apartment-style building. In his first two months, it was already clear that he was a different breed of pope. He chose to spend Holy Thursday at a youth prison, washing the feet of inmates and preaching. He cracks jokes without missing a beat, and comes off as impulsive. However, his closest friends from Argentina have described him as a “chess player”.

As changes continue to sweep through the Catholic Church, there are some possibilities that Francis will only remain pope until 2020. His friends have said they know he wants to spend his final days at home, and Francis has voiced it himself. 


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