Pope Francis’ heart changing ministry

Heather Jewell's Headshot

Everyone is familiar with the trend that swept America on social media: “I’m not Catholic but… [insert a sentence to a mini novel here about Pope Francis].” 

The line took over America when the head of the Catholic Church came to the country.

Before his arrival, Catholics waited in anticipation and barely suppressed glee while others looked to the event with a grain of salt.

Not long after his arrival, the Bishop of Rome was doing things differently. On Tuesday he made the first ever address to Congress, and afterwards he attended a meal with the poor. It was not a big shock that he did this, the Holy Father is known for taking time from his schedule and being with the poor. When he first became Pope, news spread of how he would dress as a common priest and go into the streets of Rome at night, blessing and helping the less fortunate.

As the pontiff, he is under the scope of many people, especially non-Catholics. And to many, he is doing things right. Jeffrey A. Krames is a child of Holocaust survivors as well as a non-Catholic; he is also the author of “Lead with Humility: 12 Leadership Lessons from Pope Francis.”

Krames was quoted saying, “When I saw Pope Francis, I thought he was the anti-Hitler.”

What makes me love the Pope is that I know he has a true heart. He has shown his love for others in volumes, from allowing a little boy who ran on stage during a mass to sit with him, to meeting with a family who traveled all the way from Buenos Aires to America so they could see him, to his constant call for people to work on their jobs as stewards of the earth, to saying it is time for people to stop focusing on what divides us and instead focus on what unites us.

When he tells us to care for the poor, he does not turn around and go eat a lavish dinner in a great hall; Francis is famously known for his minimalist standards and desire to remain humble.

Anytime someone mentions the Pope an excitement rushes over me. I am a Roman Catholic, and he is my Poppa Francis. However, the moment someone says he is changing things, I am slightly put off. Anytime someone turns him into a hero or glorifies him to be better than other Popes, I am put off.

Our generation has been very lucky, nay, blessed, to have the opportunity to personally witness the lives of three Popes thus far who each survived the effects or after effects of the Holocaust and World Wars. All three accomplished amazing, beautiful things during their time as leaders of the Church.

Pope John Paul II created Theology of the Body and left a legacy of his own with World Youth Day. Pope Benedict XVI made headlines when he stepped down in 2013; people have spoken badly of him for it, but one of his strongest teachings were clear in that moment: that we should never cling to power. Pope Francis has already made leaps in his time as the Pontiff. I could go on for hours or use the space of the entire newspaper to talk about him, but I’ll close with this: He is not changing teachings or Church Doctrine; he is simply working to change hearts.