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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Pope Francis’s 11 years of papacy have deviated from the norm

The+popular+and+well-loved+Pope+Francis+waving+to+an+audience.
Franco Origlia
The popular and well-loved Pope Francis waving to an audience.

Any 87-year-old who lives in and is the head of the world’s smallest country and has a car named for his position—the popemobile—would be considered legendary in media, but the current leader of the Vatican, Pope Francis, is remarkable for a variety of reasons beyond just being notably amusing.

As the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the pope has the responsibility to lead the 1.378 billion members of Catholicism. Embracing tradition, Catholic values, and religious faith are the most important jobs of the pope.

However, the most recent pope, who is the 266th—Pope Francis—has begun to branch off of the typical demeanor of popes. Although many traditional Catholics hold certain beliefs, Francis has challenged some of those with his progressive nature. 

Prior popes have condemned same-sex relations and marriages, but Francis has deviated from the norm by approving Catholic priests blessing same-sex couples in informal settings. While this still follows the historical trend of not formally approving gay marriages, this is a prime example of Francis’s willingness to challenge the ideas of traditional Catholic teachings while remaining deeply rooted in his faith as a leader.

While he faced backlash from many Catholics across the world, Francis upheld his words on this matter.

While he faced backlash from many Catholics across the world, Francis upheld his words on this matter.

Part of the reason that Francis may be willing to strive for ideas that are progressive for his occupation is that he is the first pope in history to be from the Americas; Francis is originally from Argentina, which is disparate from the rigid tradition of Western Europe.

Furthermore, Francis tends to be more down-to-earth and willing to connect with his people than prior popes have. He is the first pope since the early 1900s to not live in the papal residence, and instead, Francis resides in the Vatican guest house. This way, he can accept visitors and hold meetings, giving him easier access to citizens. Additionally, when he passes, Francis will be the first pope in over 100 years to be buried outside of the Vatican—he plans on being buried near an icon in Rome. This action demonstrates Francis’ devotion to God and his people rather than just the political implications of his position.

Francis has also heavily implied that he values women and feminist ideals. While the prior pope, Benedict XVI, had accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious of being tainted by feminism and losing focus on their faith, Francis seems to support women’s fight for justice. He ended the investigation into this matter under the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faiths. On top of this, despite stating that “holy orders are reserved for men,” he states that women’s jobs are much more important and therefore this action is not a deprivation.

In April of 2023, Francis was the pope who allowed women to vote for the first time in any Catholic Synod of Bishops, marking this momentous occasion at the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

So, although Francis is a significant figure in the clerical world, his political and religious opinions have made him a stand-out pope in all fields; while some find his actions unfaithful to Catholic tradition, others find Francis’ progressivism refreshing and much-needed. As he reaches his eleventh year of papacy, the diplomatic pope continues to garner much attention from the media.

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About the Contributor
Eva Harshman, Editor-in-Chief
Eva Harshman is a senior who is thrilled to be entering her fourth and final year on staff as Editor-in-Chief. Apart from writing for The Central Trend, she enjoys riding her Thoroughbred, Thirsty, spending time with friends, and watching her favorite TV shows for hours on end. She is also an avid competitor in Odyssey of the Mind alongside her teammates who also happen to be her best friends. Although she tends to stick around the people she knows best, The Central Trend has broadened her horizons beyond compare. Being a part of Room 139 has taught her so much; she has met so many people thanks to The Central Trend.   Favorite type of story: Editorials Pets: A bunny (Georgie), a dog (Leon), and a horse (Thirsty) Dream vacation: Tokyo, Japan Favorite books: The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie MBTI and Enneagram: ENTP-T 8w7

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