Pope Francis at five years: How the 'humble pope' sparked a conservative resistance


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 Pope Francis at five years: How the 'humble pope' sparked a conservative resistance

ROME, ITALY - DECEMBER 08: Pope Francis prays in front of the statue of the Immaculate Conceptionon at Spanish Steps December 8, 2013 in Rome, Italy. Following a tradition laid out by his predecessors, Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception by travelling to Spanish Steps where he venerated the statue named for the Marian Feast. The statue of the Immaculate Conception was consecrated on December 8, 1857 several years after the dogma which states that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin was adopted by the Church. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

In the beginning, there were signs and wonder.

Signs that Jorge Bergoglio would be different, which led 1.2 billion Catholics to wonder: What kind of Pope would this obscure archbishop from Argentina turn out to be?

When the Vatican sent him a first-class ticket to 2013's papal conclave, he traded it in for coach. While most cardinals took limos to Vatican City, he walked or hopped the bus. After his election as pope, he chose a modest room in the Vatican's guest quarters instead of a frescoed suite in the Apostolic Palace.

But the strongest indication of his values came with his choice of a papal name.

Just before the white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel chimney, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes hugged his fellow South American and said, "Don't forget the poor."

The words made an obvious impression, for moments later Bergoglio informed the conclave that he would take the name Francis. It was in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, he later explained. The choice brought gasps and applause. No pontiff had ever paid such a tribute to the rich, 12th century man who gave his wealth to the poor and became a beggar for Christ.

But the name was just the beginning. Five years later, Pope Francis is firmly among the most liberal, global and politically relevant Holy Fathers in modern history.

And for some Catholics, that's become a problem.

He rails against the evils of capitalist greed and climate change. In a dig at Donald Trump, he said that those who build walls to keep out immigrants are "not Christian," and even flew Muslim Syrian refugees to safety on his papal plane.

When asked about the existence of gay priests he shrugged, "who am I to judge?"

He's opened discussions about allowing married priests in the Amazon, permitted divorced and remarried Catholics to take Communion and said that God redeems "even the atheists."

As a result, a recent Pew survey of US Catholics found that 55% of Republican Catholics say Pope Francis is "too liberal," a number that's more than doubled since 2015.

By: CNN

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