By now you’ve heard the story: Simple living, highly educated Jesuit priest-turned-archbishop-turned-pope rocks the Vatican with a modest lifestyle and frank tone seen as a radical departure from the practices of previous pontiffs.
He’s the pope who church watchers say hasn’t mentioned abortion or gay marriage in his first 120 days.
The pope who named himself after the radical mystic St. Francis of Assisi in order to remember the poor.
The pope who said nice things about atheists.
The new pope’s influence has been dubbed the “Francis effect”; he’s been compared to Princess Diana and called “the people’s pope.” Early polls indicate that Francis is unusually popular, and in the months since his election, Catholics and non-Catholics alike can be found buzzing about his latest sermon or act of humility. Did you hear, the pope isn’t living in the papal apartment? Did you see, Pope Francis paid his own hotel bill after becoming the leader of the Catholic Church? Did you notice, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics carried his own bag onto the plane for his trip to World Youth Day?