From the moment he was introduced to the huge crowds waiting for a new pope in the rain at St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis has been a surprise. People gasped when his name was called out. He was 76, seemingly another rigid conservative, not the younger, dynamic figure many Catholics had hoped for.
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Pope Francis waved to a crowd at the Vatican on Wednesday. Pope Francis called in an interview for a less judgmental church, saying that it risked becoming a “small chapel.”
Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control (September 20, 2013)
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Now six months later, the surprises keep coming, including the pope’s new remarks that the church risked becoming a “small chapel” overly fixated on sexual morality and should instead offer a broader, more inclusive message.
Francis is challenging the status quo of the Roman Catholic Church so determinedly and so unexpectedly that Vatican watchers are debating whether this is merely a change of tone, as many had thought at first. Some now think the pope may be making a deliberate effort to shake up the Vatican governing hierarchy, known as the Curia, and prepare the ground for a more fundamental shift in the direction of the church.
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