Pope Francis - A Pope Bringing Hope

Jesus and St. Peter

Painting depicting Jesus giving St. Peter, the first Pope, the keys to the Church.
Painting depicting Jesus giving St. Peter, the first Pope, the keys to the Church. | Source

The Catholic Church

"We believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen."

That is the ending of the Nicene Creed, a prayer said at Mass the world over in Catholic Churches. One of the things I was taught as a child is that the Catholic church is "catholic", a word meaning universal or as the early church knew it to mean, "can be found anywhere". So we were taught the Catholic Church is catholic, with a small "c". We were taught more than what is stated in the ending of this creed.

Jesus taught us "love one another as I have loved you". A tenet of the Catholic Church, always to love no matter what. Forgiveness and love.

Over the years, or maybe over the centuries, things and people have changed. The Church (Catholic Church) has changed as people have changed but the Catholic Church also teaches the Pope is the leader of the Church as told to us by Christ, "You are Peter and on this rock I build my Church." Following this scripture the Church believes each Pope is a descendant of Peter and therefore leader of the Church.

Lastly for my purpose here I introduce, or re-introduce, the term "ex-cathedra". This is the term the Church uses to define teachings that are infallible. In other words teachings directly from the Pope that are infallible and can never be questioned. Don't go shaking your head. Contrary to what I was taught as a child and according to the research I have done there are only two examples of ex-cathedra; one is that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was born without original sin and the other is that the body of Mary was assumed into heaven. This opens up a whole new can of worms for many I'm sure. Doctrine and Dogma adopted or put forth by the Church can be changed as taught and guided by the Church or Magisterium. Those doctrines can include things like fasting before Communion, or how old you must be to receive a sacrament. Mainly what I have found and always believed is they are Church doctrine and not the Law of Christ.

Now that I've opened that can of worms I would like to try to take your attention back to the Pope. He is the leader and head of the Catholic Church. He is also, however, a man. I do not say that as a derogatory statement but one of truth that has influenced the Papacy and not always favorably.

Some FAQs About Popes in History

  • Pope Leo confronted Attila the Hun.
  • Boniface gave all his money to the poor.
  • Innocent IV approved the use of torture during the Inquisition to find out about heretics.
  • Eugene tried unsuccessfully to reunite the Latin and Greek Churches.
  • Callistus III declared Joan of Arc innocent of witchcraft.
  • Clement VII refused a divorce between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.
  • Gregory XIII adopted the Gregorian calendar.
  • Paul V censured Galileo for saying the earth orbited the sun.
  • Pius VI renounced the French Revolution.

The Papacy

If we look back in history, and I mean way back like 1048 to 1257 we see conflict between the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, leaving us with an Eastern and Western Church. During this time there were also several claiming to be Pope.

During the Renaissance the Popes were patrons of the arts and got themselves involved in politics. A lot of pomp and circumstance at the Papacy and there were corrupt Popes who had mistresses and fathered children. Through the corruption and political intrigue the Papacy kept reorganizing and moving back to what Christ had intended it to be. In spite of the corruption and problems it faced, the Catholic Church and the Papacy have both survived.

The Church can trace the line of Popes from St. Peter to our current Francis, a list of 266 Popes! From builders, reformers, corrupt politicians, teachers, and more, there were Popes who advanced history and a few who held it back. There were Popes who lived and spread the Glory of God and there were those who definitely did not. These were the MEN not the Church!

A markerThe Vatican in Rome, Italy -
Rome, Italy
[get directions]

Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

You may or may not have known about several Popes in your lifetime. You may or may not have been aware of their accomplishments or shortcomings but your probably have been aware of the criticisms of the Catholic Church and the number of Catholics falling away from their religion. I am not saying all of this is due to the Pope but I am saying a Pope, like a good shepherd, leads his flock in the right direction and keeps them from straying. This is what I see in Pope Francis.

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis was elected Pope on March 13 2013. A humble man, born of Italian parents in Buenos Aires. He was ordained a priest in 1969.

Here is a Pope who carries his own bag! Here is a Pope who lives in a simple apartment. Here is a Pope who cooks his own supper! These things are unheard of. He is a Prince of the Church, head of one of the largest Churches in the world, a Church referred to as a "pillar of Western Culture" and yet, he cooks his own supper!!

Did you know he washed and kissed the feet of a dozen young prisoners? Add to that two of them were girls and one was a Muslim. Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles before his crucifixion. This was considered the task of a lowly servant and by doing it, Jesus performed this supreme act of humility and as an example that we are to serve one another and take care of one another. While it is still done as a ritual on Holy Thursday in the Catholic ceremonies, have you heard of anyone else doing it? Pope Francis showed his extreme humility and showed us that we must still serve and take care of one another.

A further example of his humility and desire to help the Catholic Church is his appointment of a group of cardinals to rewrite the apostolic constitution which apportions power. He wants Vatican reform. He actually said the Catholic Church could "fall like a house of cards" if it didn't focus more on the "essentials" of preaching the Gospel and less on politics and bureaucracy.

If you aren't stunned yet, there is more. He has reached out to atheists and agnostics. He said, that God will "forgive" them as long as they behave morally and live according to their consciences. Some may take this as an insult, but stop and think about what he is saying. He is not saying if you're not Catholic you will burn in hell, he is not saying atheists and agnostics are doomed...he is saying you must live by your conscience! His exact words were, "God forgives those who obey their conscience." He is giving people a choice. He is saying you must live by what is in your heart and conscience. If you do, then you are doing right! Knowing the difference between good and evil is what separates you from sinners.

Pope Francis has said, "I am a sinner." Pope Francis admits he is a man. But he is a man with an extraordinary job right now. Leader of the Catholic Church.

A quote he gave in an interview particularly sticks with me, “Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass, to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage.”

Pope Francis - St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis with the people in St. Peter's Square
Pope Francis with the people in St. Peter's Square | Source

Pope Francis on The Church

A Pope Bringing Hope

I want to believe that Pope Francis will return the Church to what it should be and must be. Pope Francis said, “We must walk together: the people, the bishops and the pope."

The Catholic Church is a church of love and faith. It has swerved from its course and now it looks like Pope Francis will get it back on course. We need to return to our beliefs and humility. To love everyone not just those we like. It is time for us to live our faith, to actually be Catholics.

This Pope Francis brings hope back to the Catholic Church. Hope that we can return to our faith, hope that the Church will again be the beacon it once was, hope that the Church finds the new balance Pope Francis speaks about.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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46 comments

Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 3 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Thank you for writing this hub. All we have heard about Popes and the Catholic Church recently has been just bad things. It is very good to learn about the good things the Popes have done. Such as Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust who not only sheltered Jews and helped them escape, but also spoke to a few select officials, encouraging them to help the Jews.

However, he did a very good job of keeping this a secret.

Love this hub.

Voted up.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I have heard far too many stories about Catholic Priests over the years but now you have given me a different perspective on Pope Francis - A Pope Bringing Hope, so true of what you say here sounds an encouraging effort for he Pope but he would definitely bring new hope


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I agree Michele. There are many Popes in history that did brave and amazing things but we don't hear too much about them. I always knew I liked Pius XII ;) Thanks for the vote. I "hope" this helps people look at the church more optimistically.

Yes DDE, he reminds me of what a real Pope should be, caring about the people and the Church! Glad you enjoyed it.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Mary. I really like Pope Francis. I like his simple way and I think he will have a positive influence on the catholic church.

I find the history of the Papacy and the Catholic Church very interesting. We are going to Malta soon and I was reading how the Knights of Malta stopped the advance of the Ottoman Empire around 1250 and basically saved western Europe from becoming a Muslim Continent. To thank the Maltese they bestowed riches to Malta and they used some of the funds to build the Cathedral of St John, which we hope to visit. It's a fascinating history.

Thanks so much for the wonderful hub. Voted up, shared, pinned, etc.... Have a great week.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Mary, this really covers a lot of important basics about the Catholic Church and about the teachings of our Lord. You have really presented this material in an informational manner, which I much appreciate.

I recently finished reading "Intervention," a fiction book by Robin Cook which included some of the aspects of these teachings such as Mary's bodily ascension to Heaven. Your explanation clears a few things up that I didn't understand. As a Christian who is not Catholic, I learned so much from reading your hub. Thank you and thanks for the reminder about humility and love.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi mary, I think he is absolutely lovely. Even though I am not a Catholic, Pope Francis seems to me to have all the qualities that he should have. Funny thing was that when he was being made Pope and we didn't know who he was or who he was going to be, I said to my friend, Oh I hope they call him Francis, because I loved Francis of Assisi! lol! low and behold out he came and got called Francis, and it was only then I looked at my friend and she just shook her head and said, I don't believe it! lol! voted up and shared! nell


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Mary,

I am so hopeful with Pope Francis at the helm. I believe we must keep looking ahead and believing that change is indeed possible. Authentic and humble people in leadership positions like this are an inspiration of what is possible at all levels.

Thank you for raising awareness. Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

It's not surprising Bill that you would be visiting Malta considering its proximity to Italy! Another beautiful travel hub coming up that's for sure. Thanks for the votes and shares!

I'm so happy you could learn from my hub Peg. I've read several Robin Cook books and it looks like I'll be adding "Intervention" to my list to read, thank you for the heads up.

Nell, I think you are absolutely lovely. I can't imagine being a psychic but you have so proved yourself over and over. Where in the world would you come up with Francis when I don't think its ever been used by a Pope before? Blessings girl. Thanks for the vote and share.

That truly was my major point Maria, to raise awareness that with a new captain at the helm the Catholic Church should finally be back on course! Certainly sending hugs back to you my friend with thanks for your votes.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

Very interesting indeed mary and voted up for sure. You write so naturally and this is sign of a true writer.

Take care and enjoy your day .

Eddy.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

You put a smile on my face Eddy! For you to say I write naturally is surely a compliment. Blessings.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

Excellent article on Catholicism and Pope Francis! This should be required reading for everyone. You explain the difference between church doctrine, pope infallibility, and Christ's teachings very well. I am Catholic who came from a 'mixed' marriage - my father was a Methodist, so I grew up seeing both the Catholic and Protestant beliefs side by side. It was interesting to say the least.

I do like Pope Francis and he is a breath of fresh air in the Catholic Church. I do admire and praise his humility and I hope he brings positive change to the church - so far he seems to be doing so. The Catholic Church does need to move forward and modernize somewhat. Thank you for an interesting and comprehensive article on the Catholic religion and the popes, especially Pope Francis.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

I like your title, Mary, 'Pope Francis - a Pope Bringing Hope.' That seems to be the case. Thank you for this fascinating tribute to him.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Hi Mary,

I do hope Pope Francis leads a lot of fallen away Catholics back to the teachings of the Catholic religion.

But I personally, loved Pope John Paul II, sometimes called Blessed John Paul or John Paul the Great, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, who was the head of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 to his death in 2005.

Voted up, interesting and shared.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Mary, I admire and respect you so much. That goes without saying. The fact that you've tackled what potentially could be a very controversial subject only adds to my assessment of your moxie and determination to be a writer of integrity.

Sure, I read the headlines. But you know something? No church is infallible. No church is without its blemishes and pitfalls. The fact that more notoriety is attributed to just a handful of denominations speaks more to the bias of the press and the depth of any church's purse (read: lawsuits).

What I hear loud and clear from you is that this particular pope--and, forgive me if I appear to belittle distinctions--is the epitome of humility rather than grandeur. And I absolutely applaud and admire him for it. To me, he is just another human being. I personally place no individual higher than another. And this pope, contrary to many before him, exemplifies that his real station in life is to be a servant to others. I really like that.

Thanks so much for forging through what I'm surmising was a challenging piece to navigate. I appreciate your loyalty to persons, things, and organizations--faults and all--and it is by virtue of your gracious acceptance of others that I am blessed to be your friend.

Blessings and aloha from a fellow sinner who is sincerely making amends every single day of his golden years,

~Joe

PS Thank you, Mary! Just for being you. Hope and pray hubby is well. I'm doing just fine, thank you, and I gauge that by my continued orneriness! : )


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Suzette. Things are not always clear in the Catholic Church, that's for sure. No one is perfect but it seems that Pope Francis, in his humility, is trying to move the Church forward. I hope he succeeds.

You are most welcome drbj.

Yes Shyron, John Paul II is scheduled to be cannonized in April of 2014. That is truly miracullous as the church seems to be moving away from sainthood. He was a marvelous man. Now though the burden is on Pope Francis to bring the Church's faithful back! Thanks for the vote and share.

Joe, you are so right. If there's one thing I have it's moxie! Trust me ;) I would have to say the other is integrity. To me honesty and strong moral principles are right up there with love (of course love is the most important to me). You do not belittle distinctions. I believe this man's humility is what will bring my church back. The Pope and the church and all the people in it are here to love and serve others. We may not do it all the time but it is certainly our goal. Oh Joe, we are all sinners but it is the ones who recognize it who will be saved (and dare I say loved again). You are the best and I too feel honored and blessed to have you as a friend!

P.S. Now they are saying Larry is having seizures not strokes. So we continue to see new doctors and have more and more tests. I am so glad you are well and pray you keep that old brain of yours going...lots left in there to share!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Pope Francis sounds like a good man, Mary. His work is truly cut out for him.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

That's for sure Deb.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

I have been reading Christian stories since I was a child. However, I did not know the existence of different Churches until I was in college. Thanks for sharing a profile sketch and message of Pope Francis.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

You are most welcome Vinaya. There is much to learn about 266 Popes ;)


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

Im not Catholic, but Til, I got alot out of this hub.. kind of broaden my outlook.. too controversial, but you handled it and written like a professional good for you and bless you


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Frank, glad I could bring a little enlightenment ;)


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

the Catholic Church can be dogmatic-nonetheless, dogma leads in the right direction. I have faith that Pope Francis will take us in the right direction and as a Catholic, this hub touches a spot! Thanks, Mary, sharing.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Michelle, faith, hope and love will bring us all home.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

Every once in a while a pope manages to be elected who is not a "company man." I reserve judgement--but there is a flicker of hope --


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

A very strong and awesome hub here. Hopefully, with time, the Pope will get people back to how it should be.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I like the way you put it Audrey, "not a company man".

WND, that's what we're all hoping!


Marie Flint profile image

Marie Flint 3 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

The first pope named Francis and the first from South America. In my spiritual studies, South America is special because it, supposedly, is the area where the seventh root race is to embody. And, that is the vibration I believe to Pope Francis to have! I'm no longer Catholic, but definitely catholic. ***


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Marie. "Hopefully" Pope Francis can instigate change.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Til....."The Pope of Hope?" What a refreshing and much-needed change for the Catholics of the world. I was born, christened, confirmed, raised, educated & breathed upon...Catholic. At the age of 12, I was determined to become a Nun. STOP laughing!.....hmmm come to think of it, if there can be a Pope of Hope, why not a Nun of Fun?.....In any event, I did put my Catholicism asunder, some 36 years ago. (For reasons I shall not get into here)... but there will always be shades of my involvement in the church, that remain with me.

I am duly impressed with the new Pope, from all that I have heard and read thus far......however, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned, my last confession being 40 yrs ago...." I have no thoughts or need to ever be one who returns. It was only after leaving, was I able to feel a true and genuine spirituality and closeness with a Heavenly Father. With no pun intended, I do not wish to ROCK the BOAT, at this point in my life.

We all find our own path....and I'm grateful for this.

I sincerely hope that Pope Francis is all that he seems to be and can change the things that have gone so terribly wrong with the church through the years.

At my last class reunion, I was truly astounded at the huge number of my classmates who had also jumped ship. Of our small class, we are nearly 50%...no longer with the church. That's an awful lot, in my opinion...and speaks volumes, in terms of the real need for this Pope.

I admire your devotion.....but then, I admire you for many reasons!..UP+++


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 3 years ago from Singapore

Nice information for a non-catholic


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

My dearest Effer, you and the probably millions like you, are one of the reasons I like Pope Francis...he is not judging people for who they are or where they are...he speaks of audacity and courage but most of all that we are ALL sinners. He isn't judging. I believe, like he does, it is what is in your heart that counts. I am by no means judging you, well in some ways I am because I judge you to be a true and wonderful friend, someone with an amazing sense of humor, and I believe close to that "Heavenly Father" you speak about.

Now, you as a nun? So you want to give the flying nun a run? I think every little Catholic girl back then wanted to be a nun, yes me too! How sad things have gone the way they have. Never mind your classmates leaving the faith what about all the nuns who left to get married? But, that too is another story for another time.

I'm so glad we have such a wonderful mutual admiration society going. Two is a wonderful number you know ;)

Thank you MG Singh. So nice of you to read this!


uNicQue profile image

uNicQue 3 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

I'm not Catholic, but I really appreciate the things that Pope Francis aims to do within the church. I think it is important to bring people back to the church, and his methods for doing so are refreshing, honest, and sincere. I find myself more and more grateful that Pope Francis was elected for this job, because I think he came at a time when we needed him the most. This is a wonderful hub.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I couldn't agree more uNicQue. Thanks for reading and commenting.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Thank you for highlighting the hope for the catholic church through this pope. I do hope that it brings some renewed faith to many.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Yes teaches, Catholic or otherwise, this world definitely needs faith...and hope!


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

Once in my life, I have lost my faith in the catholic church but I really like Pope Francis in so many ways...regardless, it is not my religion that matters now but my faith.

Great, intellectual and very insightful hub!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you CrisSp it is your inner faith that counts and I think Pope Francis sees that. Glad you enjoyed my hub.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

I am so happy that you wrote this one, for this pope is one extraordinary man. He is just what the world needed in these times of strife. I hope he lives long and well. We all, regardless of our religious beliefs, can learn a great deal from him.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

So true TT2, any leader with love and understanding in his heart can only be an asset to the world. Thanks for stopping by.


cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

cmoneyspinner1tf 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

Recently came across an article about the NSA spying on the Pope.

You know what? If Pope ain't sweating over it I don't see why anybody else should be huffing and puffing about it.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I agree cmoney. I bet he has nothing to hide!


cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

cmoneyspinner1tf 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

That's exactly what I said! But I deleted my comment. It was at another site. I don't really like to cause controversy. See you around HUBPages.

(P.S. Loved that Statue of Liberty costume.)


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 2 years ago from Western NC

Loved everything you wrote here. :) I grew up Catholic but am no longer practicing, but this new pope definitely has me intrigued. I went to see John Paul II in Denver and in the Philippines because I loved his World Youth Day events. I can't wait to see what's in store for Francis. :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Hope cc...that's what its all about. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.


aesta1 profile image

aesta1 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I am really impressed by the choices Pope Francis has made since the start of his Papacy. I agree that he is trying to bring back what really is the core of the Roman Catholic religion.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

I do too Aesta1. Will he make mistakes? Probably. Will everyone agree with him? Probably not, but it is a sign that things can get better and hopefully there will be a renewal in the Roman Catholic church.

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