It has been one year since a humble Argentinean cardinal named Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope of the Roman Catholic Church. During that year, he has captured the imagination of millions of Catholics around the world, and millions of non-Catholics as well, with his no-nonsense approach to the papacy and what appears to be a progressive approach to many issues facing the church. What does the first year of Francis portend?
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FIRST YEAR OF POPE FRANCIS:
• Hope for a more open, accepting Roman Catholic Church is being created in Pope Francis' first year
Within months, those both inside and watching the Vatican — the city-state within Rome that is home to the church — were talking about "the Francis revolution" and "Vatican glasnost," a reference to the period in Soviet history when Mikhail Gorbachev began coming clean about huge problems, such as the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.
Francis quickly told the Vatican to act aggressively on child sexual abuse cases and has since set up a commission to advise him on how to deal with pedophile priests. While any change in church policy remains to be seen, it was an open and very public declaration of intent that many saw as at least the beginning of a positive change. (Miami Herald)
• Many points of praise for pope's first year
In the year since, Pope Francis has electrified the world with his taste for the improbable: his spurning of the papal apartment, his resolutely informal personal style, his startling words, such as his instantly immortal "Who am I to judge?" line on gays. He's popular at the Catholic grass roots and may be the most celebrated pontiff ever in non-Catholic venues, and even some secular circles where criticism of the papacy is much more common than praise. Symbolically, Francis, 77, has changed the narrative about Catholicism. Substantively, he has taken bold steps toward reform and reoriented the church toward the political and cultural center after years of a perceived drift toward ever more hardline stands.
For all those reasons, the full measure of his impact so far runs well beyond the power structure of the Catholic Church. (Boston Globe)
Pope Francis and Clergy Sexual Abuse in Argentina
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was archbishop of Buenos Aires from 1998 to 2013 and president of the Argentine bishops' conference from 2005 to 2011. During these years, as church officials in the US and Europe began addressing the catastrophe of child sexual abuse by clergy — and even as Popes John Paul II and Benedict made public statements — Bergoglio stayed silent about the crisis in Argentina.
He released no documents, no names of accused priests, no tallies of accused priests, no policy for handling abuse, not even an apology to victims.
In his many homilies and statements (archived on the Buenos Aires archdiocesan website), he attacked government corruption, wealth inequities, and human sex trafficking, but he said nothing about sexual violence by priests. (BishopAccountability.org)