Timeline and Recap of Pope Francis’ Remarkable Papacy

Since becoming Pope, Pope Francis has humbled the Vatican offices and made a standout example of what a good Christian-and good Catholic- should be. HIs big moment perhaps was, while being on board a flight back from Brazil, he said, “Who am i to judge?” when asked how he felt about the possibility of gay priests. He has revolutionized the church, and helped guide it into the 21st Century.

When the Papal conclave started in March 2013, Pope Francis, then known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio the Bishop of Argentina, was preparing to retire. He was rumored to be the runner-up to Pope Benedict in 2005, but was not given much more than a glance in the beginning of the conclave. The focus was on other Cardinals who were younger, and more visible in worldwide church politics. Bergoglio was seen as sitting in the back, and one who, frankly, had his time passed over.

Pope Francis was elected on the second day of the conclave and chose his name after the thirteenth century saint who gave up a life of rich and royal possessions to live with the poor. In his first blessing to the crowd gathered at Saint Peter’s on that cold, rainy night, he did something unexpected and unprecedented. He addressed the crowd in a familiar, instead of formal, tone. Previous Popes always addressed in a formal one as a signal of dignity, but Francis did otherwise, and asked the crowd to pray for him, It was the start of an emerging pattern.

A few weeks later, he washed the feet of prisoners inside a juvenile prison in Rome, following a Catholic church tradition of Jesus washing the disciples feet, Pope Francis, again, broke tradition be washing the feet of a Muslim man inside the prison. On a flight back home from Rio de Janeiro after World Youth Day, he used the now common phrase, “Who am I to Judge?” when talking about gay priests. Pope Francis focuses more on the poor, and on God’s mercy, more than other key church teachings, which, again is unlike other previous popes. Even Barack Obama has stated how impactful the Pope has been. He helped break a barrier between Cuba and the United States. 

The Rev. Thomas Rosica of Canada, a  Vatican spokesman, said about the Pope shortly after his election, “He cooks for himself and took great pride in telling us that, and that he took the bus to work” rather than riding in a car, Father Rosica said.

Upon his election,cardinals said they were looking for “a pope that understands the problems of the church at present” and who is strong enough to tackle them. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the archbishop emeritus of Prague, said those problems included reforming the Roman Curia, handling the sex abuse crisis and cleaning up the Vatican bank.

“He needs to be capable of solving these issues,” Cardinal Vlk said as he walked near the Vatican this week.

And he has approached and take about these issues. Pope Francis has established a new precedent with his surprising, and newsworthy actions

  • March 13, 2013: Pope Francis is elected Bishop of Rome
  • March 16: Pope Francis declares “I would like a poor church…”
  • March 26: Pope decides not to move into the spacious and regal papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace.
  • March 28: Pope shocks traditionalists when, during a visit to a juvenile prison, he includes women and Muslims in a traditional Holy Thursday foot washing ceremony.
  • July 23: Pope goes to Brazil for his first international trip. Huge crowds turn out, including more than 3 million people on Copacabana Beach on the last day.
  • July 29: Pope holds broad, free-ranging conversation with journalists on return flight from Brazil, saying his now-famous phrase: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”
  • Sept 19: Pope, in first major interview, tells Catholic publication that the Church must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality and become more merciful even if it can’t change teachings.
  • March 27, 2014: Receives in audience U.S. President Barack Obama at the Vatican.
  • April 27: Presides at Holy Mass and Canonization of Blesseds Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII in St. Peter’s Square.
  • August 13-18: Apostolic journey to South Korea on the occasion of the 6th Asian Youth Day and the beatification of 123 Korean martyrs.
  • January 2015: Visits Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Links About Pope Francis 2015 Visit, Visiting the Homeless, and the Potential Ban on Religious Headstones

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput announced 10,000 volunteers are needed for the Meeting Of Families in Philadelphia

Pope Francis gives “strength and consolation” to the victims of the plane crash in the French Alps

In continuing his work and focus on the homeless, Pope Francis invited 150 homeless men and women into the Sistine Chapel

Pope Francis is invited to the White House during his visit to the United States in September

There is a fight between the Archdiocese of Newark and a New Jersey law to try to ban the selling of religious headstones at cemeteries. 

Cardinal Egan’s Life and Death, Pope Francis’ Upcoming Trip, Approval Rating, and Threat

Former Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Edward Egan passed away on Thursday. Cardinal Timothy Dolan offers a statement about the life and death of the former archbishop.

Here is the Cardinal Egan’s obituary from The New York Times

According to a new poll, 95% of Catholics and two-thirds of those with no religion, give Pope Francis high remarks.

Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Pompeii offers a unique twist, the city lays claim to a curious story of a former Satanist priest – now on the way to sainthood – and his miracle-working Marian devotion.

The Vatican’s security forces acknowledged that ISIS poses a credible threat to the Pope

Ash Wednesday and Lent Rules, Pope Francis’ Lenten Message and the Church Using Social Media to Promote the Faith

Some quick links about Ash Wednesday and season of Lent in the Catholic Church

In the season of Lent, Catholics must abstain form meat on Friday’s and on Ash Wednesday. Some quick service places offer good fish sandwiches or other alternatives.

What are the rules for fasting and abstinence in Lent? 

A big part of the Lenten season is receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday in mass. Why do we wear them? And what is the point? 

Pope Francis’ Lenten Message calls for interior renewal using three biblical citations.

A common complaint about the catholic church is that it doesn’t develop with the times. A common complaint is “they’re still stuck in the 1600’s”. Or “they can’t cater to young adults and stay relevant”. Well, one example f the the church using social media to further it’s cause took place on Wednesday.

Pope Francis in the Philippines, and on Charlie Hebdo

Unfortunately, the Pope hasn’t exactly said anything controversial or newsworthy lately.  Going back to his visit to the Philippines and Manila last month, Francis made several controversial statements on the plane while speaking to reporters. But, perhaps, his most moving moment of the whole trip, came while he was meeting with survivors of a typhoon that devastated the country in November 2013. Francis told the crowd, “Some of you have lost part of your families. All I can do is keep silent. And I walk with you all with my silent heart” The pope sought to reassure his audience, declaring Jesus would never let them down. 

He also touched upon a controversial subject saying “Catholics shouldn’t breed like rabbits”. Everybody got all wadded up about this, and then, this past Wednesday, Pope Francis said “having more children is not an irresponsible choice” He condemned a society that does not reproduce as a “depressed” society.

Perhaps the biggest quote to come from the Pope early in this new year, he said that if somebody uses freedom of speech as a form of aggression, they can expect a punch.“One cannot react violently, but if [someone] says something bad about my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s to be expected,” the pontiff said. “There are a lot of people who speak badly about other religions. They make fun of them. What happens is what happens with my friend [who insults my mother]. There is a limit.” Some portions of the media portrayed this as the Pope advocating violence. What he’s really saying is to be responsible when talking about sensitive subjects, and if you’re going to say something, almost punch-worthy, or something somebody would get upset over, expect a punch back.

Links, Updates, On Pope Francis’ Philadelphia Visit, Reported Assassination Attempt, and Pope Benedict’s Legacy

Papal Spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, calls the vatican “rumor” of an assassination attempt on Pope Francis while he was in the Philippines “unreliable”.


Catholic.com takes a look at when you should (and are allowed to) stay home from mass under Canon Law.


Visitphilly.com’s guide to the upcoming papal visit in Philadelphia in September.


Two articles about the 2-year anniversary of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. The first one describes a first hand account of his resignation and the second link looks back on Pope Benedict’s legacy.




Hello. With the Pope coming to Philadelphia in September, and a seemingly new topic of conversation in the church coming up week in and week out, what better time to cover the Catholic Church in South Jersey? Pope Francis has challenged each Catholic to serve the poor, and increase their evangelization. Almost weekly it seems like, the first Pope from the new world is saying something remarkable and news making. And here, on this blog, I’ll remark about what he says.

In South Jersey, we have nearly 500,000 registered Catholics in the Diocese of Camden. From what the Pope says, to local news in the diocese, there is always something to report or remark on. Just this week, it was announced that Pope Francis will become the first Pontiff to address Congress on September 24. I’ll take a look at how the details of his visit when they are released in a few months.

The Diocese of Camden is home to a shrine of Padre Pio, who was one of the most beloved saints in modern history. It expands from the tip of Cape May to Burlington County and its hub sits in the heart of Camden, New Jersey. Being able to see what can happen from a local and international standpoint, and how it impacts the local church, a constant flow of information is available weekly.