tv Pope Francis Man of Many Firsts CNN November 24, 2013 10:30pm-11:01pm PST
>> bianca. bianca. bianca. ♪ >> his papacy is hailed by many as a fresh start for a troubled catholic church. >> there is a kind of rock star quality to this man. a sense of a new day dawning wherever he goes. >> his demeanor, style and words have garnered attention the world over. >> translator: if a person is gay and accepts the lord and has goodwill, who am i to judge them? >> people listening and looking are seeing a different atmosphere. a different attitude here.
>> six months into his tenure as the 266th pontiff, has pope francis changed attitudes and galvanized hundreds of millions of catholics. >> i have no doubt he has the ability to get it done. >> but there are those who are not entirely sold on the new pope. >> there are some people who are saying, i want a pope who acts like a pope. >> it's history in the making as we look at pope francis, a man of many firsts. >> the curtains are open. the cross bearer is coming out and there he is. >> six months -- >> good morning from rome. the world has a new pope. >> word first came of the new pope in the form of the white smoke rising from the chimney of the sistine channel. >> exactly six months since the cardinal stepped on the balcony of st. peter's basilica
in rome to face the world as the new pope. >> he looked scared. he looked forbidden. my first thought was, we are going to have someone who will stand there and preside and we have to bow down in front of him. >> the department chair at keen university in new jersey -- >> but if you looked very closely, it is as if his eyes began to blink very rapidly behind those glasses, as if he came into the moment. this is what christians call grace. >> translator: let us pray in silence, your prayer to me. >> then he did something very traditional, which is he said, i ask for your prayers. but then he bowed. he made a physical act of humility to the people. and in that moment, i think he bound himself to the people. i think people said, wow, we need him. he needs us. we're in this together.
>> in addition then, what francis did was he referred to himself not as pontiff maximus, the supreme pontiff, not as pope, but the simpler title, bishop of rome. >> john alan is cnn's senior vatican analyst, author of eight books on the vatican and catholic affairs. >> everything you needed to know about the kind of man he was and the kind of pope francis was going to be was revealed in that debut on that balcony. >> pope francis has also revealed he is not afraid to weigh in on matters of global conflict. the pope spoke out on syria, writing a letter to russian president vladimir putin as g20 summit got under way in st. petersburg. the pope said to te leaders present each and every one, i made a heart felt appeal for them to help find ways to overcome the conflicting
positions and to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution. >> he has also called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in syria. and he is using almost every means at his disposal to back this up. one thing that is clear, on the six-month anniversary of francis' papacy is that he wants to be a bold global leader. one of the ironies about pope francis can when he was in argentina, most people would say he wasn't a very active political player but i think what he recognizes is, the stakes are different now. i mean, he is no longer an archbishop of a major city, he is the pope of the entire catholic church. >> for them that debut goes back to 1969. when he was ordained as a jesuit priest in argentina where he was born. he became archbishop of buenos aires in 1988. his hallmark was service and humility.
three years later in 2001, pope john paul ii appointed him a cardinal. ♪ and after more than a decade, on the march 13th, 2013, he was elected to lead the world's estimated 1.2 billion catholics and installed as pope six days later. >> and this is the greatness of the man i think that he is. that he knows who he is. he knows what his responsibility is. >> cardinal theodore mccarrick is the former archbishop of washington, d.c. a church insider who says fran significance is handling his job well. >> it doesn't question because he knows he is going to carry it with jesus and he knows the people out there and his job is to help them.
>> becoming pope was only one of many significant firsts for pope francis. >> the first outside europe in 1300 years and the first pope to utter the word "gay." >> so we have the first jesuit pope. it seems kind of strange that a pope would be a jesuit because the jesuits take a vow to do what the pope tells them. >> but even more stunning to many was the name he chose. peter farone is a life-long catholic and writer for the u.s. catholic magazine "common will." >> first pope to be named after francis of assisi. so francis of assisi was a rebel francis of assisi was deeply committed to the poor and to prayer and to a kind of radical vision of living out christianity. this is the first pope to take that name, and it's not an accident. >> and it is perhaps after jesus and peter and maybe mary, the most iconic name in the catholic imagination.
because it used to be believed that no pope could take the name francis because there was only one francis. and the fact that this pope did it told me two things about the man right away. one, this would be a maverick pope, not shackled by convention. and, two, it told me thiswould be a very franciscan pope in the literal sense of the world. meaning somebody before all else was going to embrace lady poverty, the lover of st. francis. >> while service to the poor is one of the tenets of the catholic church, kriting often came to see the often lavish image of the papacy that the church is out of touch with ordinary followers. some church observers say pope francis' dressed down style from the beginning may be creating some unease, even among the cardinals who elected him. >> i wouldn't be surprised if some of them are wondering, what did we bargain for. you know, did we know what we
were getting? so if i'm living in a palatial residence and i'm amassing wonderfully ornate vestments and then here comes pope francis and he is living in a guest house and is wearing simple clothes, well, i have to look at how i'm putting forward my image in my own diocese. >> christopher bolito puts it more bluntly. >> in the last 15 or 20 years we have this focus on what we call cuff link or cadillac of catholicism. and i think the era of cuff link or cadillac catholicism is gone. one of the interesting things i read is one who are ordained priests in april, may, june, right after the election of francis in march and what were they talking about? oh, how much they always admired francis of assisi anyway so i think soup kitchens will be the new cadillacs. >> bishops must be pastors, close to people.
men who do not think and behave like princes. >> we do not need leaders in this church who have the mind-set of princes. i think if he knows if he wants preach that successfully to the 5,000 bishops in the catholic church and the more than 400,000 catholic priests of the world, he's got to model it himself. >> just ten days after his installation as pope, his humility was in full display on holy thursday before easter, one of the most sacred times in the christian calendar. >> he went and washed including the feet of women, including the feet of two people who were nonchristians. there are some people that argue that that is incorrect and it should only be men because they represent the 12 apostles who were all male. immediately, after he did that, there were churches and cathedrals around the country who were washing women's feet the same day. >> i don't think he cared whose feet he was washing.
he washed a woman's feet. he washed a muslim's feet. and guess what? the vatican is still standing. also natural for pope francis is getting close to his clock. in his first international trip to brazil as pope he captivated the people. and also sent shock waves around the world. i couldn't wait to see her again.
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the catholic church has been plagued by scandal. most recently the sexual abuse of children and cover-up, money-laundering allegations, the vatican bank, the so-called vati-leaks including the release of embarrass iing papal documents by a vatican butler. six months into his papacy, observers say pope francis is changing the narrative. >> it was church in crisis. it was catholic watergate. now within 24 hours after francis' election we were talking about new day dawns for the catholic church and charismatic pope takes the world by storm. >> in july, francis took his first international trip as pope to celebrate world youth day in brazil. the most populous catholic country in the world.
the reception in rio de janeiro was overwhelming and raised security concerns. many were calling the 1981 assassination attempt of john paul ii and one woman attacking benedict xvi twice in 2008 and 2009. >> i will tell you after the mob scene on the first night of the brazil trip unfolded in which the papal motorcade was basically hijacked, i spoke to churchman and cardinals who were holding their breath and frankly saying on background, dear god, i hope we don't have to go back to the conclave next week because i hope this guy doesn't put himself in harm's way. >> his love for the people, hope to reach the people, to touch the people, to get involved with the people, is so overwhelming. it is more a pastoral desire to reach the people and to touch them. ♪
>> his final mass along rio's iconic beach drew 3.5 million people according to the vatican. he challenged believers to be vocal. >> translator: don't be afraid to go and to bring christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society. even to those who seem furthest away, most indifferent. the church needs you. your enthusiasm. your creativity. and the joy that is so characteristic of you. >> bikinis gave way to rosaries as francis took the world's most famous stretch of sand and surf by storm. but that was the story line. one of these iconic global figures that radiates a desire to awaken the better angels of our nature. that was the spirit of copacabana beach for that weekend in july. >> perhaps and more dramatic was
an impromptu press conference he gave at end of his week-long visit. on the plane back to rome, he was in high spirits taking questions for more than an hour. and at one point said this -- >> translator: if a person is gay and accepts the lord and has goodwill, who am i to judge them. >> remarks that reverberated around the world. >> i think that it was very important sign that he was truly going to be in a position of toleration and understanding and attempting to come into dialogue with people who were homosexually oriented without prejudging them. >> also stunning, his use of the word, gay. when church officials previously had used the word homosexual. >> this is how the people on the periphery look at life and describe life. and that's where he is. he wants to talk to them in their own language. so this is the pope francis.
you love everybody. >> the pope's comments drew a mixture of praise and criticism among catholics. critics thought francis didn't go far enough. church doctrine remains the same, engaging in homosexuality is a sin and quote intrinsically disordered. pope francis' predecessors both talk tough on the gay issue. here's benedict xvi last year. >> translator: father, mother, child, essential elements of the experience of being human are lost. >> benedict had a certain charisma but it was the charisma of a university professor that you respected. whereas francis is the uncle you run up to and hug. francis is the kind of pope we need at this moment. someone who is gentler. somebody who is more open. he is not going to change doctrine, but he will preach it differently. >> which was apparent when reporters asked him about women becoming priests.
he sounded a jewel tone. >> translator: in reference to the order nation of women the church has spoken and said no. this door is closed. i have said it, but i repeat it. women in the church are more important than bishops and priests. >> i think that the church is going to see some big changes over time. will women be admitted to the holy orders to the priesthood? no, pope john paul ii said that we are not able to do that because it is a situation that is determined by the example of our lord in selecting 12 men to be the apostles. however, there were certainly many women in the early church who had leadership roles in prayer. ♪ >> in september, the pope continued to make news. leaving no doubt he was
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with an estimated 1.2 billion catholic followers, pope francis presides over the largest christian body in the world making him one of the most powerful men on earth. ♪ but he has his work cut out for him as he exercises that power to make fundamental reforms. perhaps most painful, cleaning up the mess from a decade's long sex abuse scandal that dates back to the '60s. >> things were held up in the vatican. the machinery was not
functioning smoothly or efficiently to process these cases. so some of that is, in fact, a concrete example of why it's imperative that this be looked at and addressed. >> the numbers still from 30 years ago are unfortunately sometimes still coming up horribly so. but we've moved forward. we've mord from there. and here we have a new pope who has expressed clearly that his mind is -- he has no compromise on this. >> another priority, which francis is already tackling, is reforming the curia, the central governing body of the church viewed widely as ineffective. francis has pointed a group of eight cardinals to review it. >> i bet the people in the curia are shaking in their cassocks right now. i think this pope is in many ways an outsider.
sometimes it takes somebody from the outside to come in with fresh eyes who is not beholden politically to a certain circle to effect change. >> what could be considered the first scandal of his new administration is the allegation of corruption at the vatican bank. over the summer, italian police arrested a senior vatican bank official for a reported money laundering scheme involving about $26 million. cardinal mccarrick who voted in the 20050 conclave that elected pope benedict knows pope francis personally and what informed some of his thinking as he deals with these issues. >> he wants to be a good manager of the -- of the people's money. if he sees it, the poor are giving help, it should be used to help others. and being used in a bad way, you know, he's not going to
stand for that >> there will be some blowback. the honeymoon is going to be over at some point. but how that will happen remains to be seen, but what's more important is what happens with all of us. it's not when you get knocked down. it's how you get up again. there are lots of people who are saying things, i want a pope who looks more like a pope. my response to that is, what the hell does that mean? let's let pope francis be pope the way he wants to be pope, not let other people dictate how he wants to be pope. >> the papacy is an impossible job. i mean think about what we want popes to be. we want them to be media rock stars. we want them to be fortune 500 ceos. we want them to be world class intellectuals and living saints. i mean, any one of these things is hard to do over the course of a lifetime. you roll it all up together, it is a prescription for impossibility. >> and as pope francis settles in his job on the heels of
benedict xvi resigning earlier this year, the first pope to do so in 600 year, pope francis must also figure out how to stem the tide of leaders leaving the church. >> if there's anything that will bring people back, it is the understanding that the church is there not to yell at people, but the church is there to be an instrument of god's love and forgiveness. and if there's anything that will characterize pope francis, it is that. >> as the first non-european latin american jesuit pope, what does the future look like for pope francis? >> well, i think he has a hard job ahead of him. and i'm inspired by how happy he is because i know if i were in that job i'd be awfully worried about a null of things but i think he is going to lead us into the future that is more simple, that is less emphasizing
details and more emphasizing the heart of the faith. that's what i see as the future with pope francis. >> it remains to be seen. but he certainly as people who are a lot smarter than i am has said, he's changed the narrative of catholicism from being dour and glum to being exciting and full of vim and vigor. >> francis has clearly shown that you can be 76 years old and with one lung and have an awful lot of energy. >> he didn't carry a definition with him into this job. he was able to set the definition for himself. and i think the cone census is over the early months of his papacy he has done a masterful job. >> and if he can turn things around, in essence, rebrand the catholic church, he may become a man of many more firsts and perhaps a pope talked about and remembered for centuries to come.
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