Pope Francis has been declared Time’s Person Of The Year. Looking back on 2013, he has done some incredibly progressive things to lead the Church.

1. He spoke out against frivolous spending by the Church

Pope-Francis-I-Angelus-and-Blessing-from-the-window-overlooking-St-Peter-s-SquareSource: catholic-ew.org.uk
The average set of cardinal’s clothes costs as much as $20,000. In October, Pope Francis urged officials to dress more modestly and to not squander such money. In the same month, he ordered a German bishop to explain how he had spent $3 million on a marble courtyard.
Source: globalpost.com

2. He invited a boy with Downs Syndrome for a ride in the Popemobile

pope_1492085fSource: thehindu.com
During a general audience, Pope Francis invited Alberto di Tullio, a 17-year-old boy with Downs Syndrome, to ride in his Popemobile while thousands watched.
Source: cbsnews.com

3. He embraced and kissed Vinicio Riva

November saw Pope Francis embrace Vinicio Riva, a man scarred by a genetic disease. Fighting agonising pain on a daily basis, such an act restored the faith of a man who says that he is often mocked in public.
Source: cnn.com

4. He denounced the judgment of homosexuals

76fcdecc95af2119b8a4cf64a6f49c6aSource: cnn.com
Pope Francis has stated several times that the Church has no right to interfere spiritually in the lives of gays and lesbians. Though Francis maintained the right of the Church to express opinions on homosexuality, he believes that Christians should not judge or ridicule. 
Source: cnn.com

5. He held a major ceremony at the chapel of a youth prison

2.Source: incarnationparish.org
In March, the Pope held a major Holy Week service at Casal del Marmo jail for minors, rather than the Vatican. During the service, the pope washed and kissed the feet of 12 young offenders to commemorate Jesus' gesture of humility towards his apostles on the night before he died.
Source: reuters.com

6. He urged the protection of the Amazon Rainforest

20130728nw155 [amazon pope]-001Source: nationalpost.com
During his visit to Brazil, Pope Francis met with natives who have been fighting ranchers and farmers attempting to invade their land. He encouraged that the Amazon be treated as a garden and protected.
Source: nationalpost.com

7. He personally called and consoled a victim of rape

Pope-FrancisSource: catholicvirtue.org
A 44-year old Argentinian woman, raped by a local policeman, was one of thousands to write a letter to Pope Francis in 2013. The woman was surprised when she later received a phone call from Francis himself--who consoled the woman and told her, “You are not alone.”
Source: catholicvirtue.org

8. He snuck out of the Vatican to feed the homeless

6.Source: newsfirst.lk
More recently, it has been discovered that Pope Francis regularly leaves the Vatican at night to feed the homeless. Dressed as an ordinary priest, he joins Archbishop Konrad Krajewski to feed the poor of Rome. 
Source: huffingtonpost.com

10. He acknowledged that atheists can be good people

mujica-pope-francisSource: mercopress.com
Earlier in 2013,  Pope Francis spoke out against the common interpretation within the Church that atheists, by nature, are bad people. He stated that, “Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good.” After meeting the Pope, the openly atheist president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, compared Francis to a friendly neighbor. 
Source: theguardian.com

11. He condemned the global financial system

84014400571530b4a6aa4095bdcf8811166402603-1368710848-5194dec0-620x348Source: tempo.co
In May, Francis denounced the global financial system for tyrannizing the poor and turning humans into expendable consumer goods. He believes that, “Money has to serve, not to rule!"
Source: timesofmalta.com

12. He fought child abuse

_71555098_tw58lt75Source: bbcimg.co.uk
The Catholic Church has been rocked in recent years by allegations and admissions of child abuse by members of the Church. Pope Francis became the first Pope to take effective action against such atrocities. He ammended Vatican law to make sexual abuse of children a crime, and he also established a committee to fight abuse.
Source: bbc.co.uk

13. He condemned the violence of the Syrian civil war

12.Source: blogspot.com
In regard to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Pope Francis asked for peace and declared that, "War, never again. Violence never leads to peace, war leads to war, violence leads to violence.”
Source: reuters.com

14. He redirected employee bonuses to charity

pope-francis-2013-2Source: ibtimes.com
When a new Pope is elected, Vatican employees receive a bonus. Upon his election, the extra money was given to directly to charity instead.
Source: washingtonpost.com

15. He spoke out against the Church’s ‘obsession’ with abortion, gay marriage and contraception

15.Source: indiatimes.in
In a voice of reason, Francis shocked the Catholic world when he stated that the Church was an unhealthy obsession with abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. He criticized the Church for putting dogma before love, and for prioritizing moral doctrines over serving the poor and marginalized.
Source: nytimes.com

16. He called for cooperation between Christians and Muslims

Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead Angelus at VaticanSource: catholicsun.org
During his Angelus address, Francis paid respect to the end of Ramadan. He stated that both Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and he hoped that Christians and Muslims would work together to promote mutual respect.
Source: catholicherald.co.uk

17. He took part in a selfie

17.Source: telegraph.co.uk
In what might be his most progressive feat of all, Pope Francis met with youngsters to be a part of a truly remarkable selfie. He is embracing the present, and he is undoubtedly taking the Church to a more loving and accepting future.

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