Who Am I to Judge?
When he became the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis made a lot of firsts. He is the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the Americas, the first Pope from the entire Southern Hemisphere, and even the first non-European Pope since Gregory III in 741.
Aside from breaking these molds, Pope Francis has been known and widely regarded for his informal and approachable nature as well as for his devotion to the world’s poor and marginalized. Though he maintains the Church’s stance on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality, among other matters, Pope Francis has gone against the conservative grain of many of his contemporaries and predecessors, thus garnering him a reputation as a ‘progressive’ Pope.
While these stories and reports may make him a popular Pontiff among Catholics, other religions, and non-believers alike, it should not be forgotten that Francis is still the leader of the Catholic Church, a historically conservative institution.
His recent comments on a trip to Georgia and the Caucasus remind us of why Francis is where he is today, what he represents, and the social battles he is and is not willing to fight for during his Papacy. For many Catholics (and others), it’s a reminder not to get our hopes up.