10 things you need to know about Pope Francis

Pope Francis I appears on the central balcony

From the moment he stepped into the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica upon his election to the papacy on March 13, 2013, His Holiness Pope Francis has captured the world’s attention for his simple message of God’s boundless love and mercy. Here are 10 things you need to know about His Holiness Pope Francis:

1. Pope Francis is a pope of many “firsts”.
2. Pope Francis sees himself as a sinner.
3. Pope Francis believes the Church should be more like a “field hospital after battle,” with bishops serving as true pastors and priests spending more time in confessionals, consoling wounded souls.
4. Pope Francis wants to keep it simple but “cannot live without people.”
5. Pope Francis only has the deepest of affections for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, his “brother” who now lives in a monastery at the Vatican.
6. Pope Francis is a reformer; he is not afraid to shake things up.
7. Pope Francis says “no” to an economy of exclusion.
8. Pope Francis warns Christians against falling into the trap of spiritual worldliness,” which is “self-centeredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God.
9. Pope Francis is a fervent devotee of the Blessed Mother.
10. Pope Francis is a son of the Church.

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Selected Sources:

Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, November 24, 2013
“A Big Heart Open to God: The Exclusive Interview with Pope Francis” (America: The National Catholic Review), September 30, 2013
Press Conference of Pope Francis During the Return Flight from the Apostolic Journey to Rio de Janeiro on the Occasion of the XXVIII World Youth Day, July 28, 2013