Why is Pope Francis significant?

I was awoken by my son this morning at 3 AM because he had a bad dream.  When I got him all tucked away on the couch, and I was preparing to write this very blog post (didn’t know what the topic would be) the baby woke up.

Ugh.  Foiled again.

So I settled down with my Boppy on my glider – both of which we have had over nine years – and started to feed.  I turned on the TV, and flipped channels.  Not much on at this time of the morning – even on Lifetime.  Even Law and Order wasn’t on.  Law and Order is always on.

I was about to turn it off when I decided to try CNN.  For me, turning to a news channel – never happens.   On the news, everything negative is sensationalized.  Sad stories of rape, murder, and utter disrespect sells- and I have no place for negativity in my life.

But, I decided to turn on CNN anyway.

There it was right in front of me.  They were preparing for the Papal Mass in Rome.  The reporters were talking about all the preparations and listed out the times of all the events.  Everybody was thrilled.  People were cheering and busting at the seams with excitement.  Of course being the person I am, I wanted to know what all the “hub-bub” was about.  I’m not part of the Catholic church, and I have no idea what goes on.  Despite that – I was compelled to know what the excitement was all about.

So, I thought this might be an interesting blog post.  I would learn a bit more – and in simple terms (bullet points) – and from the point of view from an outsider looking  inwards – learn why the installation of Pope Francis is so significant.

So, I started working the Google machine!

ap_pope_francis_mi_130318_wg from abcnews

So, there he is.  The new Pope of Rome.  Pope Francis.

A deeply spiritual man dedicated to service.  He cooked his own meals, rode public transit, stayed in his own apartment.  He leads by example.  He has a spirit of brotherhood.  He refers to himself not as the Pope, but as a Bishop of Rome, who serves together with his Brother Bishops. He prays for all to unite together in love.  He has said that this is a journey of brotherhood in love.  In trust.

He seems to be a great uniter.  Rather than being interested in dominance and consumed by hierarchy – He has a deep respect for human dignity and a believer of religious liberty for all.

Here are my bullet points.

  1. First Pope from outside of Rome.   This is the first time a Latin American Pope has been installed.  This is very exciting for the Latin American people.  Many Catholic followers are from Latin American Countries – and likewise – Latin America is loosing followers at alarming rates.  He speaks the same language and can identify with the people and social problems.
  2. First Jesuit Pope.  Honestly,  I had to look this up.  What does it mean to be Jesuit?  A Jesuit is a member of the largest Catholic religious order for men.  They believe that the reform of the Catholic Church starts with the reform of the individual. They take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and live in communities together.  While a Jesuits work is not focused on parish life (presiding over weddings/funerals, celebrating Mass, Presiding over Baptisms, etc) – Jesuits work as hospital and prison Chaplains, retreat directors, writers, professors, and physicians just to name a few.   Highly regarded for higher education, some of the best known Catholic Universities were founded by Jesuit Priests (Fordham, Georgetown, and Loyola are examples).  Jesuits encourage tolerance of other religions, teach other theology in their institutions and believe in free education for all.  They are considered free thinkers – especially on their opposition to abundant wealth.
  3. Unlike his predecessor, Pope Francis was not well known.  He wasn’t even on the short list of possible candidates.
  4. Named for St. Francis of Assisi.  Who was he?  Had to look this up too cause I had no clue.

St. Francis, like no one before or since, captured the essence of what it is to follow the example of Jesus Christ.

I just love that sentence.  WOW!  Wow…wow..wow!

He ordered his followers to love one another without limit.

WOW!  Wow…wow…wow!

He believed that whatever stood in the way of love – must be removed.  He believed in sacrifice for the good of others.  He believed that any boundary or barrier that must be overcome – that it shall be.

This is some very powerful stuff, isn’t it?

To me, the most significance – even more than everything I wrote – is that change has begun.

What do you think?

Thank you abc.com for the awesome picture!

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About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. As a non-Catholic I can’t quite wrap my brain around why this has dominated the news cycle recently. I can’t see where it has that big of an impact on me, my life, my family or my friends. I am religious (my grandfather was a baptist preacher) but I’m not Catholic. I don’t share the beliefs of this church nor do I believe we should worship a man (the Pope is, after all, just a man). I am glad that people who follow this religion find hope or feel recharged because of the ritual & process but to me, it doesn’t have a blip on my radar.

    • Hey Angela, Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Why does anything make the news?

      I think the significance is because it represents change. While it might not mean much for you or me, or your family and friends or my neighbor down the street – it does mean a lot to 1.2 billion other families in this world. We all live in the world together. Just because it happens to someone else, doesn’t make it insignificant. In my opinion, that’s what makes it significant. While we might not share each others belief system – we are all brothers and sisters, and therefore, should respect and learn from each other.

      Plus, as my Mother has always told me – it’s good to learn new things!

  2. Okay, well, when you say that he wasn’t even on the short list of candidates, that’s not exactly true. Supposedly, although we’ll never really know because they burn the ballots (which creates the smoke over the Vatican), he was the number 2 choice for Pope when they elected Benedict. He wasn’t well know by the public, but he was pretty well known to the higher ups in the Catholic church…it was just unclear as to whether they were going to elect a South American to the position.

    As for why the new Pope is important…The Pope is not just a figure head like royalty, he’s the steering force behind the Catholic Church. He is the leader of 1.2 billion+ people who are part of the faith. That’s people in one faith than exist in entire countries. He is the leader of what is being seen as a “broken” religion (please know that I say that as a Catholic that was baptized but doesn’t currently practice). For years the Church and the pope been seen as distant and out of touch, and Francis is a real chance at fixing that.. When you look at the things that he’s done – kiss the feet of AIDS patients, reject fancy living accommodations, take public transit – he is different than any other Pope we’ve seen. Rumor has it, he also has a pretty good sense of humor too…also unusual in a pope. He is a beacon of hope for what could be a dying religion if they don’t change.

    As for why it’s on the news… Well, it is a historical event, whether you are part of the church or not. Election of Popes goes back, well, forever (okay, actually just 1059, but it feels like forever). Papal elections are also pretty rare…it’s actually very unusual that we’ve seen 2 papal elections in such a short period of time as popes hold office for life and almost never retire early. These elections are typically decades apart. Popes and the Vatican are also a huge part of history. As someone with a history degree, I can tell you that regardless of what religion you practice, you will learn a ton about Popes if you take just about any history class that talks about Rome (at all) at the college level, maybe even high school level. Religion and Popes were a guiding force in Rome, Europe, and the World for a long time, even if it isn’t quite that way now. But remember, over 17% of the world’s population is Catholic (with huge gains being reported in Africa and Asia at the time of the last count) so this is news to a great deal of the world.

    But mostly, I think it’s gotten a ton of press because of the scandals that have riddled the Catholic church. It’s not a secret that the church has it’s problems and I think there’s a hope and optimism that the new Pope (being the highest office in the Catholic faith) can turn that around.

  3. I loved reading this. First, I didn’t know that much about Pope Francis and now I do. Second, the Catholic church has been under fire (for legitimate reasons) for so long that I feel that people think it’s ok to diss it. I can’t tell you how many negative posts I’ve seen on FB about the new pope. I’m all for giving people (and institutions) a second chance. I hope this guy lives up to his wonderful promise. The church needs it, his followers need it, the world needs it!!

    • Hey Rachel,

      You are absolutely right. I do hope this is the change that is needed – to move forward and grow!

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

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