Francis - Pope of the Poor

In his first year in office, Pope Francis brought about more change than his predecessor did in a significantly longer period of time. He has taken a stand: against indifference, injustice, exclusion and violence - but also against a rigid church.

Francis is a reformer, but his aim is not to rattle the foundations of Catholic teaching. Instead he wants a compassionate and missionary church. Justice is more important to him than moralistic finger-pointing. He wants to bridge the divide between the Holy See and the people, with his simple and humble manner. He is man of peace and dialogue and he is changing the landscape of the papal office. It is already clear that his pontificate will have a long-lasting influence.

It started in Rome more than a year ago, as white smoke wafted above the Sistine Chapel. After the unexpected retirement of Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church now had a new pope in the Jesuit Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the first Latin American pope in the church's history. From his very first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, his intent was clear: he was going to bring about change. He dispensed with the red shoes and the ermine-trimmed cape; as an important sign to the ecumenical church he referred to himself first and foremost as the "Bishop of Rome", and above all he asked for the faithful to pray for him. These are not the words of a dictator, but instead of one who aims to serve the church and wants to listen to the people of that church.