VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, is expected to be discharged from the hospital soon after successful surgery to repair an abdominal hernia. As the Vatican reports that his progress is normal and without complications, it is worth acknowledging the many accomplishments he has achieved during his papacy.
Since becoming pope in 2013, Pope Francis has been a champion of social justice, environmentalism, and interfaith dialogue. Here are twelve of his most notable achievements:
1. Promoting Climate Change Awareness: In 2015, he released an encyclical on climate change called “Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home.” This document urged all people to take better care of the planet and called for an urgent response to the global environmental crisis.
2. Advocating for Social Justice: Pope Francis has spoken out against income inequality, called for an end to the death penalty, and advocated for the rights of refugees and migrants. He has also criticized the excesses of capitalism and called for a more equitable economic system.
3. Supporting Interfaith Dialogue: Pope Francis has made interfaith dialogue a priority, meeting with leaders from other religions and participating in interfaith events. In 2019, he became the first pope to visit the Arabian Peninsula, where he engaged in dialogue with Muslim leaders and signed a document calling for mutual respect and religious freedom.
4. Leading Curia Reform: The Curia is the administrative body of the Catholic Church, and under Pope Francis’ leadership, it has undergone significant reform. He has simplified its structures and encouraged more involvement of laypeople in decision-making.
5. Canonizing Saints: Pope Francis has canonized many new saints, including Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was assassinated in El Salvador in 1980, and Mother Teresa, who worked with the poor in India for decades. He has also recognized the sainthood of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II, who are widely considered to be two of the most influential popes of the 20th century.
6. Supporting Human Rights: The pope has repeatedly spoken out in support of human rights, calling for an end to discrimination and violence against marginalized groups such as women, children, and the LGBTQ+ community.
7. Promoting Peace: He has been an outspoken advocate for peace, calling for an end to war and violence around the world. He has visited conflict zones such as Syria and the Central African Republic and has urged world leaders to work towards peaceful solutions to conflicts.
8. Addressing Corruption: The Vatican Bank has long been plagued by scandal and controversy, but Pope Francis has taken steps to reform it. He has increased transparency and accountability within the bank and has worked to ensure that its financial practices align with the church’s values.
9. Innovating Technology: The Pope has embraced technology and social media as a way to connect with people around the world. He has over 18 million followers on Twitter and has used the platform to share messages of hope and encourage interfaith dialogue.
10. Increasing Women’s Roles in the Church: What is amazing about him is that he has called for a greater role for women in the Catholic Church, including more positions of leadership and decision-making. He has also created a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons.
11. Encouraging Mercy: He has emphasized the importance of mercy and forgiveness in the Catholic faith. He has declared a Holy Year of Mercy, during which Catholics are encouraged to show compassion and generosity towards others.
12. Championing Poverty Reduction: Pope Francis has advocated for policies that aim to reduce poverty and support those in need. He has called for greater access to healthcare and education and has emphasized the importance of solidarity and compassion in addressing global poverty.
As he recovers from surgery, Pope Francis remains one of the most influential religious leaders in the world. His legacy of change and commitment to social justice, environmentalism, and interfaith dialogue has inspired millions and earned him widespread praise.