Indeed, Pope Francis seems to be taking the Catholic Church back to its founding principles—the life and teachings of Christ—opening the windows and doors of the Vatican to let in some much-needed theologically fresh air.

In what is, perhaps, the most telling of all Pope Francis’s words, in December of 2013, he addressed his vision of the Church, saying, “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.”

That same year, Pope Francis was named Person of the Year by Time magazine—an award shared by only two other popes. The article showed that the factor that put Pope Francis at the top of the list was his ability to draw in so many who had previously given up on the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis has also worked to root out corruption in the Church, excommunicating members of the Mafia and cracking down on financial mismanagement and sexual abuse within the Church’s ranks.

His reforms don’t stop there. Pope Francis is also the first pope to speak out about the dangers of climate change, asking the world to pay attention to how it treats the Earth and calling for world leaders to address environmental concerns.

The Catholic Church, despite some protestations from a few corners of the religious world, is better off today because of Pope Francis’s efforts. And because of the Church’s potential to be a force for good, charity, and the alleviation of human suffering, the world may be a better place, as well, for his service.

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