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The Catholic Church has been oh-so-wrong, oh-so-remiss, in oh-so-many-ways, for oh-so-long. It is remarkable that now, in a time when our political and religious leaders seem more corrupt than ever, this new dude, Pope Francis, appears to be a welcome breath of sanity, compassion, and love.

At the helm of the Roman Catholic Church for less than seven months, Jorge Mario Bergoglio seems determined to follow as closely as possible, his namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi. As he leads his congregation, encompassing 17.5 percent of the world’s total population, this man has already taken gigantic strides towards mercy, inclusiveness, and love.

It makes this atheist’s heart skip a beat to watch the pope sitting at a table of poor, uneducated, people at a soup kitchen in Assisi, Italy. He not just theoretically broke bread with the down and out, but he listened to what they had to say! (Woe that our American legislators could be so savvy!) At the Serafico Institute, the pope interacted with each of the over 100 special needs children in residence there.

Pope Francis is spreading his message by example, shunning ornate halls for a simple downtown apartment in which the heat is reportedly turned down when he is away and trading access to an ornate Mercedes in favor of a Fiat. His platform includes directing The Church to refrain from judging others, to mix with the masses, and to challenge the status quo. He envisions leading a church that works for peace and for protection of the environment.

Of course, many world leaders have embraced similar rhetoric. In my heart, I have a good feeling about this guy. I think he means what he says. I think he will work tirelessly to convince his followers to live more Christ-like lives. What would Jesus do?

Pope Francis [Photo AFP - The Telegraph]

Pope Francis [Photo AFP – The Telegraph]

Sources: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/05/world/europe/pope-francis-assisi.html?_r=0#h[
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/10134826/Pope-Francis-calls-on-ambassadors-to-reject-bourgeoisie-lifestyle.html
http://news.yahoo.com/pope-trip-st-francis-town-highlights-goals-143950916.html