Pope Francis Brings Refreshing Humanistic Attitude to the Vatican

On March 19, 2013, Jorge Martin Bergoglio (now known to the world as Pope Francis) was inaugurated as the most recent Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. As this pope takes office, he almost immediately proves himself to differ greatly from his 265 predecessors.

Pope Francis is the first pope to be born in the Americas. Born on December 17, 1936, he hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he decided to become a priest on March 11, 1958 at the age of 21. Pope Francis was inaugurated in a time of technological dependency and evolutions. With his upmost concern being to spread the word of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis became active on Twitter (@Pontifex).

Pope Francis is constantly tweeting quotes from his sermons and spreading the word on how to be “blessed” humans. Not only can the Pope be found on Twitter, he has also created multiple verified accounts. On each account, he posts the same message, but each account translates into a different language. He does this to spread his word world-wide. Between all his accounts, Pope Francis has hit a total of 10 million followers, 3.2 million of them on the English language account.

Compared to the previous popes, Pope Francis seems to take a particular interest in humility. He has publically condemned priests for making a show of being seen in expensive cars. He responds to their showmanship with, “It hurts me to see a priest of a nun with the latest model car.” Pope Francis stated. “If you fancy one [car], just think about how many children are dying of hunger in this world.”

High school student Gia Carlos, who is Catholic, understands the motivations of the new pope: “Pope Francis took his name from St. Francis of Assisi, who was the saint to chose to live a simplistic life instead of the life of luxury he was born into. I understand why he would criticize his men for such things since his values are based off St. Francis.” Pope Francis himself is becoming an example of what he preaches. Rather tan being chauffeured in a limousine, he drives himself around in a 1984 Renault4 with 186,000 miles on it. Sometimes, he still uses the public transportation that he regularly used before being named pope. And, for all intents and purposes, Pope Francis has put the famous Pope Mobile in dry dock.

He often does his own grocery shopping and his own cooking, something no Pope has even been known to do before. He pays his own hotel bills, and even carries his own luggage, eschewing the bell-hops so many rely upon.

Pope Francis has also added a twist to a few traditions established by popes over the centuries. During Holy Week, when Catholics celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, it has been a tradition for the pope to wash the feet of the cardinals. However, this year, Pope Francis celebrated by visiting a prison and washing the feet of a dozen inmates. This stirred controversy amongst many people.

The National Catholic Reporter, however, responded with, “In the washing of feet, we see Jesus entering into a parable, teaching his disciples by example what it means to be the greatest by becoming the least.” Writer Michael Sean Winters continues, “All this could be written about or spoken about, but Jesus simply did it.”

Expounding on how the Pope majorly differs from his predecessors, in October, Pope Francis was performing a sermon in St. Peter’s Square when he was suddenly interrupted by a little boy who refused to leave his side. He was hugging the Pope, tugging on his clothes too. Instead of having the young boy removed by his security staff that was completely unnerved by the situation, the Pope allowed the boy to stay. Throughout all this, the Pope never missed a beat in his sermon. The little boy even sat in the Popes’ chair.

Pope Francis does have people of all faiths taking notice. “Even though I’m not Catholic, this new pope seems like a nice guy and is representing the Catholic Church in a very good way,” commented high school student Devin Fuller.

Pope Francis surely attracts a lot of attention to the Vatican and himself, whether it’s controversial situations or just public entertainment. One this is for sure though: Pope Francis brings a new attitude to the position, one that greatly differs from popes of the past. Perhaps, he is setting a new standard for the popes of the future.