The Pope wants you to “make noise”

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And makes a lot of noise himself…

He is a Jesuit and the first Pope to choose the name Francis. The man from “almost the end of the world”, whose first words from the balcony of St Peter’s basilica were: “good evening”. The signs of change were already there on that March 13 in 2013, when Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pontiff. His gestures, words and acts that followed confirmed the trend for renewal.

The project of restoring faith in the church and its authority at a time of great confusion seems to be in good hands, despite contradictions, the occasional change of heart, and the fact that breaking with the past does not negate the need for reconciliation. The drop in vocations and the dejection among the faithful, at least in Europe, are compounded by the paedophile priests scandals and the endless intrigues at the Vatican Bank, not to mention the unorthodox resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Bergoglio has stepped in and immediately changed tack, without mincing words. There’s a need for a Church that knows how to “warm the heart”, because “when Christians forget about hope and tenderness theirs becomes a cold Church”.

“I’d like a poor Church for poor people.” Pope Francis’ first break with the past, instantly popular among the Catholic faithful and non-believers alike, was his vocation as a ‘simple man’ with simple tastes. His decision to live in the Santa Marta guesthouse instead of the Papal apartments; his very ordinary black shoes, the plated piscatory ring, his anonymous Ford Focus, or carrying his own hand luggage – all are potent symbolic statements.

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