Fortune Magazine just published a list of the 50 Greatest World Leaders. On top of that list is Pope Francis.
I believe Pope Francis has done great good by emphasizing love, mercy, and charity. I know that the media adoration stems from expectations that can never be filled but it’s still good that the world recognizes a call towards love. Much of the world is confused about what love entails but they still recognize the call.
Just over a year ago, a puff of white smoke announced the new spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world. In the brief time since, Francis has electrified the church and attracted legions of non-Catholic admirers by energetically setting a new direction. He has refused to occupy the palatial papal apartments, has washed the feet of a female Muslim prisoner, is driven around Rome in a Ford Focus, and famously asked “Who am I to judge?” with regard to the church’s view of gay members. He created a group of eight cardinals to advise him on reform, which a church historian calls the “most important step in the history of the church for the past 10 centuries.” Francis recently asked the world to stop the rock-star treatment. He knows that while revolutionary, his actions so far have mostly reflected a new tone and intentions. His hardest work lies ahead. And yet signs of a “Francis effect” abound: In a poll in March, one in four Catholics said they’d increased their charitable giving to the poor this year. Of those, 77% said it was due in part to the Pope.
I think that if you looked at the media coverage, the Pope’s Ford Focus gets more good press than any other vehicle since Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I think Pope Francis’ Ford Focus is mentioned only slightly less than the words “Hitler Youth” were used in association with Pope Benedict XVI.