Since becoming Pope in March 2013, Pope Francis has brought a refreshing tone to the Catholic teachings and way of life. Time acknowledged that he has become incredibly popular in a way that few religious leaders do and he has been an inspiration to many.
“What makes this pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church,” Time said in the article.
According to the Huffington Post, there have only been two other popes to receive this honor, and only three other religious leaders besides those. The fact that Pope Francis gained this magnitude of recognition after only nine months is unheard of. Choosing a religious leader can be a risky move on Time’s part, but their choice of Pope Francis has received a great amount of support from the general public.
The McNicholas Religion Department agrees that Pope Francis is deserving of this award because of his message and his actions in his nine months as pope. His message has focused on helping the poor and vulnerable, and he can constantly be seen living out this message as he visits many of the impoverished areas of the world and interacts with the people there.
Religion teacher Chris Albanese said he admires that Pope Francis has worked to make the Church an open table for lots of people with many different perspectives on life. “I think he’s renewing the Church, in the most authentic sense of the word,” Albanese said. “He’s bringing it back to the mission of Christ.”
Religion teacher Teresa Davis agreed, saying that Pope Francis’s message is one that the Catholic community needed to hear. “[His message] is a new message coming out of the Church that this generation has not heard, and it’s refreshing. He has taken the bureaucracy out and has called us to just live as disciples of Jesus,” Davis said. “Francis is Jesus in the flesh to me. He hasn’t changed dogma or doctrine. He has changed the tone, and it sounds musical.”
Religion Department Chair Sam Roflow said he thought it was Pope Francis’ actions that have spoken the loudest to the people of the world. “It’s nice to have a humble, Christ-like figure as head of our church, and to be recognized by the world as a leader,” Roflow said. “I love having a pope that really practices what Jesus taught and lived by.”
Religion teacher and Director of Campus Ministry Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth said that Pope Francis has made it his mission to renew the Church with the teachers of Jesus, and he has made it obvious with his actions, especially when it comes to the poor. “People have been struck by the visibility of his walking the walk,” Hutchinson-Smyth said. “It’s where we get to see very clearly and very publically the teachings of Jesus lived and modeled, and not just proclaimed, whether it be in the washing of feet, or in welcoming a playful child to come on stage with him, or in embracing a man with profound disfigurement in his face.”
Pope Francis still has many years ahead of him as the Holy Father of the Catholic Church, and people are expecting great things from him. Most people seem to have no doubt that he will succeed, based on what he’s accomplished in his papacy so far. In just nine months, Pope Francis has made a huge impact on the Catholic community and on the world through his actions. Both Roflow and Davis stated that, “He makes me proud to be Catholic.”