Five Years of Pope Francis: A Review

The successes and failures of the Pope Francis papacy
Pope Francis brought in massive changes to the church after joining the papacy.

The world was in shock when Pope Benedict XVI, decided to step down from the prestigious papacy. The Cardinals chose Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina as his successor. Little did they know their new pope was going to bring in a tremendous amount of change.

When Pope Francis came to power, he chose to carry his suitcases, decided to stay in simple accommodations, and went everywhere in his Fiat sedan. These were just some of the indicators that Pope Francis was different.

His charisma and simple style had won over the public instantly, after speaking to them in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City.

Due to Pope Francis’s informal behavior, the conservatives were cautious. However, they had nothing to worry about, as he didn’t make any significant changes to the discipline and teachings of the church. The changes he did bring about accounted for the complexities human beings have to deal with, such as divorce and remarriage.

He approved Archbishop Oscar Romero’s canonization last Wednesday, which was important to the liberal Catholics. Romero lost his life to a death squad, who assassinated him for speaking out against his country’s regime. He has asked the world to take action against climate change and offered support to the immigrants. He has also been critical of unconstrained capitalism.

His biggest innovations were the Council of Cardinals, which consists of nine members. He has merged various offices in the Vatican, by forming the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, which is headed by Kevin Farrell, a Cardinal born in Dublin.

Not everything is okay

Despite the many changes that Pope Francis brought about, he still hasn’t done anything to the fundamentals which have been in place since the beginning of his papacy. Priesthood runs the risk of disappearing, while vocations are declining.

A small yet growing segment of people within the church, especially among the politically right wing Catholics, are unhappy with Pope Francis.

Due to his different views on the world such as the environment, refugees, and economics, he has frustrated several Amercian Catholic politicians, belonging to the Republicans, such as Paul Ryan (House Speaker), Steve Bannon (former adviser for the president), and Rick Santorum (Senator). The Catholic Republicans also believe Pope Francis is too naïve and liberal.

Even though Pope Francis started the Commission for the Protection of Minors, it hasn’t amounted to anything, due to lack of personnel and finance.

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