After being named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2013, it’s pretty clear that Pope Francis has been doing something right since being elected into the papacy last March. Not only has he addressed hot-button progressive issues in his sermons and speeches, but he is also just a pretty cool person in general. Check out some of Pope Francis’ recent accomplishments:
He was the most-talked-about person on the Internet in 2013.
This surprising fact was determined by a survey from the Global Language Monitor. Pope Francis beat out Kate Middleton, Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé, which is honestly pretty impressive.
He’s not afraid to display how much he cares.
As any good pope should do, Pope Francis has shown how much he cares about others through his endeavors over the past year. He has contributed money and prayer to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, has hugged wheelchair-bound visitors to the holy city of Lourdes and has embraced a man with a severe facial disfigurement.
He doesn’t condemn same-sex relationships.
In a statement last July, Pope Francis said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” and added that the Church cannot “interfere spiritually” in the lives of homosexuals. While he isn’t exactly advocating for gay marriage and equality, it’s much more than can be said for previous popes, and may open up the conversation for greater change in the future of the Catholic Church.
He’s sensitive to the changing times.
Last November, the Vatican began sending a questionnaire to bishops around the world addressing progressive issues in the realm of family and sexuality, such as same-sex marriage, cohabitation and divorce. This suggests some potential future modifications to the Church’s rigid traditional views on such issues.
He has a Twitter.
With 4.08 million followers on his American account alone, Pope Francis has made an effort to keep up with current technology and social media trends. This is an important aspect of his appeal to the general public in modern-day society, and shows that he is open to change and progress. (Follow @Pontifex to see for yourself)
He seems to have a soft spot for BC students.
In December, Pope Francis traded skullcaps with two Boston College juniors who were studying abroad in Rome for the semester as he rode by them on the street and heard them calling out to him. According to the Boston Globe, attached to the students’ skullcap was a note reading “Boston College loves our Jesuit pope.” It seems that he may just love us back.
He is the first Jesuit pope.
As BC students, we are familiar with the Jesuit doctrine and traditions. We know that they are honorable people with a passion for service to others, and Pope Francis has proven to be no exception.
He used to be a bouncer at a nightclub.
Did you hear that correctly? Yup, it’s completely true – Pope Francis once worked as a bouncer at a nightclub in Buenos Aires before beginning his commitment to priesthood.
He would baptize a Martian, should the opportunity arise.
According to an article on Boston.com, Pope Francis stated during a homily at a morning mass in Vatican City that one should keep an open mind to anyone seeking God.
“If—for example—tomorrow an expedition of Martians came, and some of them came to us, here…and one says ‘But I want to be baptized!’ What would happen?...When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent!’”