Pope Francis, the Catholics church’s highest leader, is visiting the Philippines on January 15. Philippines is the only Asian country that consists of mostly Roman Catholics. No wonder why many Filipinos are excited for the Pope’s visit.
The pontiff has become an icon because of his charismatic traits and liberal thoughts. He has impressed the people around the world, earning him the title, “Pope of the People.” Let us look at the moments that made Pope Francis a respectable man loved by people, regardless of their belief.
1. Being Inducted as the first non-European pope, and greeting the people for the first time, with his very comforting smile.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio made history on March 2013 when he became the first pope to come outside of Europe, he was also the first Jesuit pontiff, and the first to use Francis as papal name. This made him loved by people around the world.
2. Favoring a simpler lifestyle instead of a fancier one that previous popes had.
Jesuits are known to live a simpler life, and don’t ambition anything grand. So the pontiff, defied conventions and lived a simple lifestyle. He prefers to live in the Vatican guest house instead of the papal apartments. He also chose his old black shoes instead the traditional red papal shoes. And also opt to commute on his old used car, not on the Vatican’s Mercedes.
3. Showing how human he is by supporting his favorite soccer team just like anybody else.
Argentina is known to have a strong passion for soccer, and the pope is not exempted. He continues to show support to his favorite Argentinian soccer club, San Lorenzo de Almagro. He even has his official ID to show.
4. Reaching out to the poor and sick by praying and touching a man with leprosy – without disgust.
The pope showed that he is worthy to be called the “Pope of the People” when he stepped down of the pope-mobile, and embraced a man with leprosy. He prayed for him, and later went online to teach people about charity saying, “Let us overcome fear of getting our hands dirty as to help those in need.”
5. Showing his funny side by donning a red, clown nose to celebrate with a newlywed.
Pope Francis showed his quirky side when he put on a clown nose along with a newlywed couple, who volunteers at a charity that uses clown therapy for sick kids.
6. Letting a kid hug him on stage while having a homily in front of thousands of people.
It was an adorable moment when a curious kid went on the stage to hug the pope while he was giving his homily. Despite others shoving the kid, he won’t budge. The pope let the kid stay, even letting him sit on his chair.
7. Showing how cool he is when he posed for a selfie with a bunch of teenagers.
It broke the internet when photos of Pope Francis taking a selfie with a bunch of lucky teenagers were posted online. This was named as the first papal selfie.
8. Letting lucky children experience a ride on the pope mobile during a service.
The pope-mobile is supposed to be exclusive for the pope, but the religious leader ignored the protocols again, and allowed kids to ride with him.
9. Breaking traditions and washing the feet of two women and two Muslims in a Mass.
The pope made headlines when he washed and kiss the feet of two women and two Muslims during a Holy Thursday Mass at Casal del Marmo youth prison. This was the first time that a pontiff included females in the ceremony.
10. Seeing the pope’s informal way of interacting to churchgoers.
The pontiff never shies away from the crowd, and his adorable way of interacting with people never stops to amuse them.
11. Criticizing controversial issues in the government, economy, and even his own church.
Unlike his predecessor, Pope Francis was brave to tackle about social injustice in the world, even criticizing economic leaders and the government in disregarding the poor over their selfish goals. He also clarified the Church’s view on Atheism, and the third sex.
12. Going outside of the Vatican to feed the poor and the homeless.
He even invited homeless people for a birthday breakfast. Apart from the occasional sneaking out of his office, he also requested that showers be made in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral for homeless people to use.
13. Cold-calling people in vain to offer support and prayers.
People who send letters to the pope’s office was shocked when they received an unsolicited phone call from the Pontiff, offering comfort and prayers.
14. Urging people to protect the Amazon rain forest.
Environmentalists found a new supporter when Pope Francis encouraged people to save the Amazon during his visit in Brazil last year.
The pontiff clearly hates to be branded as a backward thinking pope on a quickly progressing world. The breaking of customs and protocols are clear indications of it. Despite all the changes, he keeps all the positive attribute that makes us human, no matter what beliefs we have and this makes him a more respectable man, loved by many people around the world.
(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)