Pope Francis emerges as world leader

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Pope Francis emerges as world leader

Pope Francis kisses a child in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Pope Francis officially began his ministry as the 266th pope on Tuesday in an installation Mass simplified to suit his style, but still grand enough to draw princes, presidents, rabbis, muftis and thousands of ordinary people to St. Peter’s Square to witness the inauguration of the first pope from the New World.

Pope Francis kisses a child in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Pope Francis officially began his ministry as the 266th pope on Tuesday in an installation Mass simplified to suit his style, but still grand enough to draw princes, presidents, rabbis, muftis and thousands of ordinary people to St. Peter’s Square to witness the inauguration of the first pope from the New World.

RICCARDO DE LUCA/ AP PHOTO

Pope Francis kisses a child in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Pope Francis officially began his ministry as the 266th pope on Tuesday in an installation Mass simplified to suit his style, but still grand enough to draw princes, presidents, rabbis, muftis and thousands of ordinary people to St. Peter’s Square to witness the inauguration of the first pope from the New World.

RICCARDO DE LUCA/ AP PHOTO

RICCARDO DE LUCA/ AP PHOTO

Pope Francis kisses a child in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 19, 2013. Pope Francis officially began his ministry as the 266th pope on Tuesday in an installation Mass simplified to suit his style, but still grand enough to draw princes, presidents, rabbis, muftis and thousands of ordinary people to St. Peter’s Square to witness the inauguration of the first pope from the New World.

LESLIE GAMBONI AND NIA PORTER

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For all the excitement Pope Francis has brought to the world stage, he has kept a low profile until his recent election.

According to Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, assistant professor of liturgy, catechesis and evangelization, despite the fact that many people are excited that Francis is a Jesuit, he will remain true to catholic beliefs that are often brought into question today.

“He is pretty centered and focused on the traditions of the church. So all the hot-button issues that we hear about such as homosexuality in marriage, he would have a very theological position on that in line with church teaching. Where I would see him, as more progressive, is in his outreach to the poor,” Zsupan-Jerome said.

According to Boyd Blundell, associate professor of philosophical and theological ethics, the pope is a world leader of much importance due to the fact that there are many Catholics worldwide, and therefore the policies that Francis sets are going to resonate down through many.

“The tone that comes out of the Vatican and what they choose to comment on, what they choose to emphasize has a ripple effect on what people feel empowered to do in the name of Catholicism,” Blundell said.

According to Kurt Bindewald, dean of university ministry, there isn’t a concrete distinction between the pope’s true personal feelings about the issue [gay marriage] and the Catholic Church’s teachings.

“It’s hard to determine what he might say about certain issues, but I think part of the breath of fresh air that people seem to be feeling about him is that at least he’s going to be more pastoral and perhaps listen and talk about things,” Bindewald said.

Many see Francis as a bridge builder, and Zsupan-Jerome finds this evident in the choice of his name and by the examples he has set.

“This is an emergence of a leader that is coming out of the church, not over and against it. It’s not a divergence from the path, but rather a new direction that could be life-giving,” said Jerome

According to Blundell, one of the most notable things about the Franciscan order is their commitment to poverty and care for the environment. The fact that he has taken the name Francis and steps to set an example, such as not wearing much of the finery, Francis “brings a different kind of ethos to the Vatican.”

“He will not have a lot of patience with the pomp and circumstance and crap that goes on inside the Vatican,” said Blundell.

While Francis’s theological stances will mostly be in accordance with the Catholic Church, the issues he has chosen to focus on have grabbed attention in secular news media worldwide.

“When you think about the United States in particular, using an inordinate amount of the natural resources in the world compared to what others have available to them could be a big lesson for us, and hopefully that’ll be a message we take to heart here,” Bindewald said.

Leslie Gamboni can be reached at [email protected]

Nia Porter can be reached at [email protected] 

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